In addition to spelunking expeditions, Greater Outdoor Adventures’ guides run whitewater-rafting and hiking excursions in the Smokey Mountains area. The instructors are well trained, safety conscious, and capable of handling any diplomatic emergencies that may arise during encounters with the mole people.
Most people probably don't consider the television to be a danger to their fresh bouquet of flowers. But because it's an appliance that gives off heat, it can easily wilt or dry out blooms. This is the kind of expert advice doled out by the women of Valentin Occasions, who in their years of flower-shop ownership have perfected the challenging art of ensuring flowers last as long as possible. Their experience has made them adept at handling a variety of jobs—they can put together everything from bridal bouquets and corsages to birthday vases and casket sprays. They also deliver weekly to businesses after an onsite visit to determine the appropriate size and shape for reception or boardroom bouquets.
As a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee's School of Architecture, Jon Felderman savored free time away from his office job in downtown Knoxville. Ditching his button-down shirt and tie, Jon headed to the Pigeon River on the weekends during the spring of 1996 to begin his training as a river-rafting guide. In just a year, Felderman's skill and enthusiasm had earned him promotions from river guide to trip leader and then to river manager—all while he maintained his full-time architecture job. Finally, in 2004, the inexorable draw of nature inspired a massive change: Jon abandoned the rigors of city life for good, founding his own rafting company, Big Creek Expeditions. Staffed by experienced guides who share Jon's love of the great outdoors, today the company leads trips down both the upper and lower Pigeon River and orchestrates rafting and camping packages for overnight expeditioners.
Providing FAA and National Park Service approved in-air viewings for almost four decades, Scenic Helicopter Tours levitates nature-lovers high above scenic vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The six-minute Douglas Lake flight ventures 1,500 feet above ground and covers a 12 mile route beyond the French Broad River. Photo-documentarians can snap shots of such photogenic subjects as Mount LeConte or the hyper-glamorous Douglas Dam while enjoying a ride about as smooth as a car. Upgrade your journey in a black and yellow whirligig to include dramatic narration from the wisdom-laden pilot with a headset rental at $4.50 per person.
Featuring 53 miles of track and 25 bridges, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad transports guests to majestic mountain locales in western Carolina, allowing travelers to view nature's splendor while sitting on a modern marvel. The four-and-a-half-hour trip offers coach seating to train setters tired of driving through the mountains with the Space Shuttle and its noisy transmission, instead surrounding them in 1920s-inspired train cars, complete with heat and ceiling fans for climate comfort.
USA Raft weaves aquatic wanderers of all skill levels down the whitewaters of the Pigeon River, affording inside views of the towering Smoky Mountains. Speed seekers and mild floaters alike can revel in the five-mile stretch of either the Upper or Lower Pigeon River Express, as guides employ their regional and water-sport knowledge to identify the grandeur of the landscapes and the functionality of pointer fingers. Mellow water-waders and fun-time floaters mosey through the mild ride, a slower guided tour along the Lower Pigeon River that boasts a river gorge, views of the Cherokee National Forest and the Smoky Mountains, and a calm current that never loses its temper. Adventurous seafaring types opting for an adrenaline-fueled excursion will reap the rewards of the wild ride, which careers through five miles of the Upper Pigeon River Express and paddles past Smoky Mountain scenery.