Local man shares backyard glories, here in the Great Smoky Mountains

Here in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Cullowhee is surrounded by scenery viewed by many, but explored by few. Ed Tierney, age 21, is one of those few explorers that take site seeing to a whole new level. His most recent exploration through Tellico Gap up to Wesser Bald is just a glimpse of some of the natural wonders he has seen in the past few years.

Wesser Bald is just south of the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The hike is either six miles from the Nantahala Outdoor Center or one and half miles from Tellico Gap.  Once at Wesser Bald the panoramic view of 50 plus miles in what explorer, Ed Tierney says is “breathtaking”. A few main areas hikers are able to see, is the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, Fontana dam, Snowbird Mountain, Plott Balsam and Little Tennessee River.

“All guys, take girls up there, they’ll melt for you” Tierney said jokingly.

Tierney shares a little history with about Wesser Bald when he shares that after hiking to the top you will reach an observation deck, which was once used as a fire tower in the 1930’s.  It burned down in the late 1980’s and was rebuilt as an observation deck for hikers.

“In comparison to other notable lookouts and the Southern Appalachia’s, Wesser Bald is the best.” Tierney said.

Wayah Bald is a suggested stop from Tierney as well, if you are already in that area of the Nantahala National Park.

Locals who know Tierney, know that he has a special place in his heart for the outdoors and hiking through the Great Smokey Mountains.

Other places that Tierney has vicariously visited here in these mountains include Charlie’s Bunion, Clingmans Dome, Mount Lowry, Blackrock, and Linville Gorge.

Tierney hopes to share this backyard beauty that locals take advantage of, with everyone. His love for hiking has sparked plans for his future, generating an interest with the Forest Service. He is currently enrolled at Southwestern Community College and has hopes to transfer to a University within the next year to continue his education in specialized engineering.

Tierney will always hold the Great Smokey Mountain National Park close to his heart as not only a place to visit and share the beauty with others, but as more so as his home.