Archive for September 3rd, 2009

Smoky Mountain Weekend

Last weekend, C & I took a short vacation to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  C had been there years ago and I had never been.  We had a blast!  We had a beautiful drive down on Thursday until we got to Knoxville, then the rain started.  I was never so glad to see a Hampton Inn in my life! 


Friday was a very full day! This may turn out to be a multiple post story. We started the morning by driving up in to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  How amazing was this?  Sugarland Visitors Center welcomed us with maps, information, and a small park museum.


We decided to go all the way to the highest point in the park which is Clingman’s Dome.  On a clear day, you are supposed to be able to see 100 miles and 7 states.  Well, that was not to be that day.  This sign said it all.


We would drive and stop and drive and stop.  There were pull-offs at the scenic stops.  There was water everywhere, but I couldn’t find a good place from which to shoot.  Wait, the Chimney Tops trailhead was dead ahead.  I found what I was looking for there, only about 200 feet from the road.  I love water and could have stayed here for hours.

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We pulled off at another overlook and I happened to turn around and look at the rock wall on the other side of the road, and what appeared before my eyes?  A face!

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The next stop was Morton Overlook.  On the trip up the mountain, there was dense fog hanging in the air.  When we traveled back down a couple of hours later, the air had cleared and you could see for a long, long way.

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At Newfound Gap, we started our multi-state vacation as this is the location of the Tennessee-North Carolina state lines.  The view would be amazing on clear days.  We weren’t so lucky.  We were starting to see the difference in the elevations though.  The types of trees and plants that grow were starting to change.  The temperature was much cooler and there was a stiff wind blowing.  This area also is part of the Appalachian Trail.  We can now say that we have hiked part of the App Trail, if only about 20 feet of it!

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Now it was on to Clingman’s Dome! I was so excited!  The elevation there is 6600 feet above sea level.  Where we live is about 600 feet above sea level.


You are able to drive most of the way, but the last half mile is a steep walk on a paved path.  Here is where you can really tell that the air is thinner.  There are benches placed every .05 of a mile on the path, and believe me, they come in handy when you are not used to the atmosphere.  It was worth it though.  I really wish it had been clearer, but we can still say that we have been to the top.

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It was only 55 degrees at the dome, the wind was blowing and there was a nasty little rain falling.  When we arrived back in Gatlinburg, the sun was shining and it was 82 degrees. The trip down was much faster than the trip up the mountain.  We still stopped to snap a few shots, but the traffic was much worse coming down than up.  I really enjoyed this and would like to have the time to explore more of this beautiful country.


Come back soon for more of our trip!

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