Great Smoky Mountains Parents Fishing Retreat
Health Guidelines: TAPS will make every effort to ensure safe and healthy gatherings. We will continue to monitor COVID variants and may require testing onsite and/or other protocols based on local regulations and CDC guidance. At this time, we do not require proof of full vaccination and masks are optional. Should we have to make any changes you will be notified right away.
All surviving parents, who are in a couple, grieving the loss of a loved one who served in the U.S. Armed Forces are warmly invited to join the Great Smoky Mountains Parents Fishing Retreat. We will explore the wilderness of our earth and of our grief alongside fellow surviving parents. These therapeutic, outdoor, skills-based events require no prior experience and are led by both TAPS facilitators and professional outdoor guides through some of the world's most inspiring landscapes.
In partnership with the National Park Trust and Trout Unlimited, TAPS has prepared for you a healing journey for the mind, body, and soul. Join with fellow surviving parent couples in this immersive experience in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We will form unique bonds stemming from our shared experiences of loss and grief as we connect with the land and waters, through recreational fly fishing.
Our accommodations are rustic rooms with queen beds at a lodge nestled into the mountains, so priority will be given to couples who are comfortable sharing a bed.
Qualified, volunteer guides at Trout Unlimited will provide their expertise in fishing education and support our physical safety in a variety of outdoor spaces. Visit the National Park Trust or Trout Unlimited for more information.
Day 1: On this travel day, everyone should arrive at Smokey Shadows Lodge in Maggie Valley, North Carolina by 5 p.m. TAPS staff will be there to greet you and get you checked in. We’ll have an opportunity to get settled in, meet fellow survivors, enjoy dinner together, and relax.
Day 2: We’ll start the day with breakfast, get an overview of what to expect, and we’ll work together to get our questions answered and build our team. We will work with volunteers from the local Trout Unlimited Chapter to learn the ins and outs of fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, get acquainted with gear, and enjoy time together on our secluded property. We’ll wrap up with a group dinner in the evening.
Day 3 and 4: The third day & fourth day will include time fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains as well as some free time to relax and further connect with your fellow surviving parents, with a closing dinner on day four.
Day 5: We'll say our “see you laters” and travel home.
This retreat is rated as a light-to-moderate-intensity adventure. We'll be active and everyone will have an opportunity to challenge themselves. Activities will involve light physical exertion. Much of our time will be spent outdoors fly fishing, taking short day hikes and enjoying the incredible scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains. Fly-fishing will include wading in relatively shallow moving water in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.