June 7, 2017
Happy 42nd anniversary. We had a 49 degree start for the day, great sleeping weather. Up early and on the road for Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We stopped at the dump station and a deer walked by 10-15 feet away. We saw several deer and wild turkeys as we drove down Skyline Drive for the last time.
We stopped for breakfast in Natural Bridge, VA at the Pink Cadillac Diner. A great breakfast with gritz and a nice way to start our anniversary.
We arrived into Great Smoky Mountain Nation Park around 3p.m. and arrived at Smokemont Campground 45 minutes later. We set-up the campsite and then drove to Cherokee and Bryson City to re-supply. There was a BBQ place in Bryson City called Bar-B-Que Wagon. We stopped for some good BBQ.
On the way back to our campground we viewed a nice Bull Elk and several cows near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and up the road.
I hired a fishing guide for this morning. We met Jay in Cherokee and followed him up into the GSMNP. We fished all along Straight Fork. I had Jay for ¾ of the day and we made good use of the time and more. While I fished Susan stayed with Sarah in the truck working on the journal and reading. This was a different type of fly fishing, narrow creek with overhanging trees. Side arm casts and drifts with a dry fly and either a worm or nymph a foot below. I caught my first two rainbow trout, both 5-1/2”-6”. We fished in numerous places along the fork and I had 8-10 strikes, including a 12”-14” rainbow that completely missed the fly and the guide said turned back to try again and then it disappeared. It was a great day on the water. Jay brought lunch for the three of us, and that was the only break from fishing.
June 9, 2017
We went into Cherokee to see the Museum of the Cherokee Indians. We spent approximately 1-1/2 hours walking through the museum. It was a wonderful history of the Cherokee Indians. Following the museum we drove to Maggie Vally, NC. The drive was on narrow and steep 2-lane roads with beautiful views. We had lunch at the Mountaineer Restaurant in Maggie Valley. Both of us had BBQ, sitting on a screen in porch with an amazing view of the nearby mountains. After lunch we took the Blue Ridge Parkway back to GSMNP, approximately 6-8 miles. We drove both the North and the South ends, leaving us with 360+ miles of the Blue Ridge to drive on another trip.
June 10, 2017
I decided to fish the Bradley Fork at our campsite. The Bradley Fork flows into the Oconaluftee River. I fished both side of the bridge with a dry fly and red worm. I had two good strikes and just didn’t react quick enough. After 1-1/2 hours I called it a day. We headed into Bryson City to explore the town. We had lunch at the Filling Station Deli. Both of us had their High-Octane Cuban sandwich. We found the brewery, but didn’t stop in. While were walking the excursion train pulled into the station. That might be fun for another day. Susan explored some of the shops and found the Chocolate Shoppe. We got back to the campsite around 5 p.m. After dinner we loaded the carrier and packed up so we could get an early start for home.
Bryson City, NC
The excursion train pulled in while we shopped in Bryson City, NC
Nantahala Brewing Company. We didn't stop, but we did purchase their Noon Day IPA which was one of the best IPA's I had. The brewery was named after the nearby National Forest
Our last dinner was homemade flat bread pizza
June 11, 2017
We were on our way by 7:20 a.m. We got some beautiful pictures driving up through the mountains. We arrived home around 3:45 p.m. This was a fun trip that included 2 national parks, part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with several historical places. Next time we will travel the entire Blue Ridge Highway.
Crossing the new bridge between Louisville, KY and Indiana