Great Smokey Mountains National Park
|Fall in the Smokeys|
This week we added another National Park to our places visited. Fall arrived this week too so we are doubly blessed. We arrived Sunday to experience first hand what I had heard from others; this area is a traffic nightmare. We were lucky in that it was the traffic leaving the area that was backed up for miles and we were coming into the area. We have been staying at the River Plantation RV park in Sevierville. It’s actually a pretty nice park, our biggest obstacle was a low branch in our spot but we got parked and all was well. When we first arrived it was still warm during the day but cooling off at night making for great sleeping weather, as the week has progressed fall has definitely arrived. Monday we drove into the park and went to the visitors center. The traffic into the park is amazing, pretty much a steady stream.
|A bridge on the trail, really just a flat log with a hand rail, pretty cool|
|These are the trails we could have added if we had time|
Once we finally found a spot to squeeze the truck into we went in and got some maps for hiking. We decided we wanted to hike Laural falls as Trudy told me this was her favorite so back on the road we went. The road to this area is also the road to the Cade’s Cove Loop which is a popular driving tour, and that was evident from the traffic headed that way. This road is very winding and fairly narrow, its pretty but I was the only one who got to enjoy it as John had his eyes on the road the whole time. When we get to the area for the falls there is absolutely nowhere to park. Every available parking space, including ones people just made up were taken. So we kept going but when we reached the Cade’s Cove picnic area John had had enough so we pulled into the picnic area. I found on the map there were several trails that start here. We found a spot large enough for the truck, whew. We chose the Andrews Creek trail, beautiful forested trail along an equally beautiful stream. It hooks into a couple more trails but after about a mile of all up hill we turned back for the parking area. All the changes and traffic had pushed back the time and it was really too late in the day to go any further. When we finally made it back to Pigeon Forge we found the Smokey Mountain Brewery and enjoyed a little dinner and a brew. Other than the traffic it was a great day.
|the creek along our hike|
Tuesday we got up a little late and the weather looked iffy and the forecast was for some rain so we decided to stay in town (turned out we had no rain and the sun came out-go figure). We basically kicked back and then went to the outlet mall just for some exercise. It is a large and busy outlet mall so we I got in all my 10,000 steps, yea!!! The only two stores I ever get excited about are the Nike store and Eddie Bauer. I came away with just a 3/4 zip fleece from Eddie Bauer. It was on sale for 1/2 price which made me a happy girl.
|The view from Clingmans Dome parking lot|
Today was our last chance to get out in the park. A cold front came through last night and it was cool and windy but no rain was expected. When we left the trailer it was around 50 degrees out. Today we wanted to go to Clingman’s Dome. We did wear warmer clothes and I brought a stocking hat, the way it turned out we should have brought all our winter gear. The drive up was beautiful but the closer we got the thicker the cloud layer got until we really were just driving in and out of the fog. The outdoor temp dropped to 27 degrees. We obviously were unprepared for that. We got out in the parking lot and the view was just the clouds and when you looked at the trees they had hoar frost on them, brrrrrrrrr. We visited the store and got a postcard and something for Evie for Christmas.
|The hoar frost|
Tomorrow we take off again and will be going to Strom Thurmond Lake and the Petersburg COE campground in Petersburg GA. Another new state for the RV. John and I both visited Atlanta when his brother Jim was alive but really haven’t seen much of the state except for that and that is actually the one place we are avoiding. I’ve just had enough of cities for awhile so we are going to stick to some COE and state parks for the next few weeks until we need to be in Fort Walton Beach. I’m really glad we visited Memphis, Nashville and the Smokeys but now we are ready for a slower pace of life and a little more nature.