Walk and Talk

Donald & Trish Davis

Renowned storyteller Donald Davis hails from Western North Carolina. Featured at festivals throughout the U.S. and the world, Davis is also known as a prolific author, producer of books and CDs, and as a guest host for NPR’s Good Evening. He will take hikes and tell stories about the uniqueness of the place and the people who have lived in these mountains. Folks love their Dutch Oven cooking during the hors d’oeuvres time in the Dogtrot. Donald has been a part of The Swag family since 2006.

Walks and Talks with a Retired Ranger

Lynda Doucette

Lynda has spent the last decade-plus at the Supervisory Park Ranger at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Her career with the National Park Service has taken her far and wide, including time spent at Cape Cod National Seashore, Yosemite National Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore. As an interpretive ranger, Lynda focused on education and events that would help visitors appreciate all that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer. Lynda will share her deep knowledge of these mountains, its creatures, and its history with our guests. She will lead day hikes, night hikes, and more!

Naturalist & Smokies 900-Miler

Nancy East

Nancy retired from a 23-year career as a small animal veterinarian to pursue her interests in outdoor education, guiding and writing. She is a Southern Appalachian Naturalist and the author of Chasing the Smokies Moon: An audacious 948-mile hike fueled by love, loss, laughter and lunacy, a memoir about her record setting hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and her longstanding involvement with Haywood County Search and Rescue. She lives in Waynesville, NC with her husband, Larry, and their three children.

Nature & Trail Tales

Matt Dobson

Matt has lived and travelled all over the world, but has made his way back home to southern Appalachia. Having studied Horticulture and Landscape Design at the University of Tennessee he has a passion for the natural world, especially relating to plant life. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2016 changed the course of his life and career. He went on to complete the Triple Crown by thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Matt is now a professional backcountry guide and has hiked almost all of the trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pisgah National Forest. With over 600 nights in the wilderness and 15,000 miles on his legs, he is as at home in the forest than away from it. He loves sharing stories of his trail experiences and of his continuing educational voyage through our natural world. Join Matt as he shares stories, history, culture and lore of Southern Appalachia and the National Park.

The Diversity of Plants

Lee Trebotich

Lee is a world traveler and a seasoned biologist who was born & raised on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. He started his biology career in the oceans surrounding the eastern hemisphere working with different universities & organizations such as NOAA tagging sharks & researching coral reefs. He holds a masters in botany with a focus on edible/medicinal plants and medicine making. He has over 15 years of educational experience teaching at all levels including collegiate & kindergarten. Lee’s passion outside of his lovely wife and beautiful daughter is the mountains. He is a high alpine athlete with a passion for altitude.

Lee and his wife, Meghan, own and run their own outdoor cooking company called Food For Adventures where they offer services such as: Private Chef, Outdoor Education, Expedition Cooking, and more! Come join Lee as he walks you through the woods to observe native and non native plants and their uses and local lore. In the evening, Lee will offer a hands on presentation where he will discuss and show how local tribes, pioneers, and others used plants for a diversity of uses.