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"The Cove Sleuth" 
A Historical Team Challenge Mystery

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Cades Cove, in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, serves as the gateway to a unique and challenging adventure for your corporate group, business retreat, church function or family vacation.  "The Cove Sleuth" is a unique proprietary creation of New Horizons.  Competing for a first place finish and medal, teams devour investigative information and clues about 15 intriguing and historically accurate deaths which occurred in this mountain community.  Through group cooperation, creativity in thinking, clever assembling of details and finally through success with team challenges, each team seeks to correctly and most accurately define the circumstances of the cove death. 

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Unparalleled Natural Beauty of Cades Cove

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All Smiles Before the Investigation

You are an elite team of detectives, news reporters and historical investigators. Your expertise has been brought here to probe and solve the circumstances of an incident that occurred long ago. The incident is centered around a death.

The resolution of the circumstances surrounding this death may result in significant historical re-telling as well as family pride and reputation changes for the parties involved...and lucrative rewards and accolades for you!

A research team has prepared this manual of information to help you solve the mystery. You also have the sleuthing skills and knowledge of your team mates. The research folks have identified several locations in The Cove that may assist in your endeavor and hold evidence in solving the mystery.

The "rumor-mill" description of the incident is pretty generic without a lot to go on. All you know is...

-One of more person lies deceased.
-The deceased is a resident of Cades Cove.
-Others (witnesses) were at the scene of the death.

How To Do It:
Visit the sites listed. Find them by using the information and maps contained in your folder. Solve the challenge at the site and you will gather clues to help narrow down your choices.

Good Luck!

The "Briefing"

The Investigative Manual

Whitehead Cabin - A Site?

"Maybe....uhhh, That Way?"

"No..I think it's that way..."

Reflecting On Team Performance

Looking For Clues

Mostly Unknown Historical Marker

Pondering The Next Clue

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On To The Next Location

The Whole Day-4-5 Miles of Hiking


-"The Cove Sleuth" is operated year round-weather permitting
-The Program is quite adaptable...allowing for a more or less difficult gradation according to your group's objectives
-A Horizons facilitator may accompany each team throughout the day to increase the level of team introspection or to provide a safe-guard against unintended trips into North Carolina!
-The Program is most suitable for adults through teenagers
-Done correctly...the program will involve about 4-5 miles of hiking over a 5-7 hour day
-Wedndesdays and Saturdays are difficult due to The Cove Loop being closed until 10:00 AM for bicyclists
-The Program costs in the range of $40-60 per person depending on group size and level of training or recreation

Credits, Compliments and Disclaimer

This exercise is a celebration...a celebration of the outdoors, recreation, adventure, and the satisfaction in one's ability to work effectively with others during challenge. It is designed to test the ability of you and your group to cooperate, problem-solve, lend a hand, and succeed during adversity.

The exercise is also a celebration of the people and the way of life that existed in Cades Cave before the area become the magnificent National Park that we enjoy today. These people were (and a very few still are) ordinary people doing the ordinary life things and occasionally accomplishing extra-ordinary even heroic acts and deeds.

Although the detective scenario is artificial, the stories that this exercise is based around are true and published circumstances of the lives of the people of The Cove. There is no attempt or intention to deride or discredit their memories or in any way to disparage the descendents of the persons presented herein.

In fact, this exercise is an attempt to honor and respect the people of The Cove, especially for their sacrifice of home and land for our present day indulgence...to make known and to preserve the memories, births & deaths, loves & feuds, weddings, work, worship, schooling, hopes and dreams of a time and people now gone.

For More Information on
"The Cove Sleuth"
or to Schedule a Date,
Please Call New Horizons at

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Resident-James McCaulley in Civil War Gear

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Beloved Residents Noah and Sara Burchfield

1920's-era Cemetary Picture

Two daughters...same name...both died

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Human Challenge in Bountiful Nature

A Team Discussion

Resident-Andrew "Witt" Shields