Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Clingman's Dome and Cades Cove Visit (Pisgah Forest, NC)

Today we traveled.  We took the dogs and drove to Clingman's Dome in the Smokey National Mountain Park.  Normally it would be about a 2 hour drive.  The drive and the leaves were beautiful so we took much longer.  We strolled (it was a huffer and puffer) to the top of the look out at Clingman's Dome.  It was nice.  It was unfortunate to see all the dead trees.  A product of pollution and disease I believe.  Still a nice outing.
You still have to climb this tower after already walking 1/2 mile straight up!

 
Unfortunately the view included many dead trees
Still an expansive beautiful view
Then we headed for Cades Cove in Tennessee.  Maybe another hour or so.  Prior to entering Cades Cove we went to find lunch.  As you leave the Smokey Mountain Park you enter Gatlinburg.  From our point of view you can't exit quickly enough.  Way too congested! So we left and drove on to Pigeon Forge.  3 - 4 more miles and we stopped at the first place that appealed to us - Cracker Barrel.  Nice lunch,  then we headed back to Smokey Mountain Park and entered Cades Cove.  The primary focus is an 11 mile loop through the valley.  Everyone hopes to see bears but they did not appear for us, although we saw a few deer.




There are some buildings from the early 1900's but we didn't stop at them.  It was just a pleasant drive through the valley.  Very much like the Cataloochee Valley that we've visited twice to see the elk.




I find it interesting to imagine the communities that settle in these well defined valleys.  It's obviously such a natural place to settle.  Love those pioneers!   We headed home about 5:45pm.  Driving directly it would take about 3 hours.  Oh what a drive!  I won't bore you with the details but much of the drive included utter darkness on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a driving rain (is that a pun?), the road lines obliterated by fallen mushy leaves, fog (I didn't think you could have fog with rain) and finally HAIL!!!  It was a little tense.  Home sweet home was just that!

Good Night,

Duane

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