Friday, January 30, 2009

Smoky Mountains Part 3-Cades Cove

If you ever go to the Smoky Mountain National Park, you will not be sorry. You could spend days and days there and not see all there is to see. It's a gorgeous place and a lot of wilderness, gentle and sometimes stark beauty, and wild animals to look at up close and personal. The place makes you feel very small and insignificant.

If you go into the park for a whole day of driving, pack your cooler and make sure you have a good full tank of gas. You won't find a lot of places to fuel up on gas or food, and when you do find one they're really busy and choices are very limited. But do be relaxed and ready to enjoy nature at its best, you will love it! Be prepared with extra camera batteries and maybe even an extra memory card for your digital because you won't be able to stop taking pictures!

Here are a few pictures we took in the Cades Cove section of the National Park, a four hour trip. There are just breathtaking views and turnoffs to stop at and take your photos or eat at a picnic table. There are twisting and beautiful wild rivers winding through the rock, crystal clear and cold. Next time we go, we'd like to check in to a rafting excursion. We can't wait to get back and take in more of the beauty this place has to offer!

Elevations run from 800 ft. to 6643 ft. at Clingman's dome, the highest point in the park, (which I will soon post about). Enjoy the beauty and remember that if you go, there are plenty of tourist traps and other attractions surrounding the area, but the starring attraction is the national park. You can buy fudge anywhere, but you can't see stuff like this in your own backyard: black bears, civil war cabins and gravestones, primitive churches and vistas that take your breath away!

July 2006

The guys just had to walk some rocks...the river or creek was crystal clear and cold.

Old pieces of the settlement that was here before it was seized via eminent domain for the National Park.

A beautiful old barn.

A gorgeous meadow with mountains in the distance. It's a great place to just pull off the trail to sit and soak in all of the beauty! Deer are grazing in the distance and not far from here we spotted a black bear.

A whitetail stops to take note of me taking his picture.

Several black bears were near the trail, and while we were stopped on the trail to take photos, one familyin the line of vehicles opened their van doors and ALL of their children (about six of them-- even the young ones!) were allowed to get out and run toward the bear (!) shouting and pointing and taking pictures. I don't know why any parent would allow that to happen, as we were way into the park and no help would be able to get there very fast if someone were to get hurt. I couldn't believe my eyes! This photo was taken with a zoom, but I believe the group of kids were no more than thirty feet from this guy!

A black bear grazing in a meadow. We caught sight of him as we rounded a curve on a distant hillside meadow. I used my zoom and this is as good as I could get.

We stopped here at this primitive Baptist church and looked around and went inside and saw a lot of very interesting gravestones in the cemetery. Below is one of a Civil War soldier. This was a very pleasant place to be, very peaceful.

Cades Cove, though geographically isolated, is today a very popular tourist destination in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A one-way, eleven mile
(18 km) paved loop around Cades Cove draws thousands of visitors daily, and can take over four hours to traverse during tourist season.

The cove draws attention for numerous black bear sightings, although many enthusiasts make the trip for the abundant hiking access and well-preserved 19th century homesteads. On most days, multiple deer can be seen in the meadows and woods throughout the cove. Popular hiking trails within the cove include the trails to Abrams Falls and Gregory Bald, the latter named after Russell Gregory, a prominent resident of the cove. In addition to hiking and general sightseeing, horseback and bicycle riding are popular activities. --WIKIPEDIA.COM


Anonymous said...

Very nice, I hope I can get there someday. Used my rice bag today on my leg...still love it.

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