Saturday, October 4, 2014
We departed home around 5:15a.m. and made a quick stop at Starbuck's for human fuel and something to eat. Travel time to Great Smoky Mountain National Park was approximately 6-1/2 hours.
We arrived at Sugarlands Visitor Center where I picked up my senior pass, maps, and gifts for the grand kids. We arrived at our first campground, Cades Cove around 2:00 p.m. and set-up camp.
On Sunday we drove the Cades Cove Loop Road and visited the John Oliver Cabin, built in the early 1820's.
The next stop was the Primitive Baptist Church which was established in 1827 and in 1887 the church below was built.
On Monday we hiked to Laurel Falls, 2.5 mile round trip from the trail head. We also moved to Smokemont Campground in N.C. for the next 2 nights. Our site was on the Bradley Fork of the Oconaluftee River, 10 feet from our site.
Mountain Farm Museum at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The John E. Davis house was built in 1899. The house was constructed with "matched" chestnut logs.
|We drove down to Cherokee, N.C. (The Cherokee Indian Reservation) and Bryson City North Carolina where we found a great BBQ restaurant. We picked up supplies including some freshly caught rainbow trout to grill.|
Newfound Gap. The site of the Franklin Roosevelt's speech to dedicate the GSMNP. This is the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
We made our second attempt to reach the top of Clingman's Dome, elevation 6,643 feet. On Monday we drove up in the fog and could barley see the double yellow line. On Wednesday the weather had cleared. We found a parking spot and started the steep half mile hike up the mountain. It was a little too much for my wife. We got 2/3 of the way up and everyone coming down said it was drizzling and foggy with no view. We turned around and headed down to the gift shop. I wish that I had continued so I could have reached the peak and taken a photo of the elevation marker. It will have to wait until the next trip.
We moved to our 3rd campground, Elkmont, on the Little River. On Wednesday night Doug Stewart paid a visit and we sat drinking some of North Carolina's finest micro beers with shrimp cocktail. More beers turned into a dinner of salmon, hamburger and veggies cooked on the grill, with a bottle of wine. A lasting friendship was born. Stew wrote in our journal, the first of many WTW members we hope to meet on our journey. And of course we gave Stew a quick tour of our Grandby, now named "Mountain Momma" by my wife.
On Thursday we moved out of the National Park and into Smoky Bear Campground. This allowed us to spend a couple of days touring Gatlinburg. Calhoun's had great BBQ and the Smoky Mountain Brewery was visited twice, and on Thursday night for beer, pizza and the Colts vs Houston Texans game. The beer was awesome. We would return on Friday for more great food and beer.
This was the view from the Tram we road to the top of the mountain on Thursday.