Photo by Dave Landreth
62-year-old Jenny Bennett knew the Smokies better than most.
Among her peers and the readers of her popular blog Endless Streams and Forests, she was known for her encyclopedic knowledge of areas within Great Smoky Mountains National Park so remote that they are inaccessible to all but the most experienced and competent off-trail wanderers.
That’s why so many of her close friends and family members were shocked when she turned up missing after embarking on what some say should have been a “routine” hike.
Bennett’s disappearance was not brought the attention of the National Park Service until Sunday, June 7, after her brother, Peter Bennett of Bozeman, Montana, reported her missing to authorities in Jackson County, North Carolina. Bennett believes his sister’s hike began sometime during the weekend of May 30-June 1, when she failed to meet movers last week at her home in Sylva, North Carolina.
He says Jenny’s plan was to embark on one last hike in her beloved Smoky Mountains before leaving the area for a permanent move to Vermont.
Park officials found Bennett’s vehicle at the Porter’s Creek Trailhead in the Greenbrier section of the park on Sunday night, and located her body near backcountry campsite 31 in an off-trail area she is known to have frequented.
A cause of death has not been determined, but officials have ruled out both foul play and animal predation.
For more insight into the life of Jenny Bennett and the many adventures she conquered in the Smokies and beyond, check out her blog and read this this article about Jenny from a 2012 issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.