drove to the great smoky mountains national park from chattanooga (where i had driven from birmingham the night before). didn't explore chattanooga at all - it was just a convenient place to stop and i was dying to get to the smokies! it was a very pretty drive b/c the leaves were super colorful and it was another super sunny nice day. (of course not as hot as further south but still really nice.)
the route i took was through tons of forest land. i stopped quite a few times in the cherokee national forest for photos.
this is the ocoee river, which is in the national forest:
the next 2 are shots in the forest while continuing on my drive to the national park
finally arrived at the great smoky mountains national park. which is, by the way, the most visited national park. it was pretty crowded but i can only imagine how much worse it is on the weekends. especially in the fall.
before i reached the trailhead, there was a neat little village
then i drove up to clingman's dome, the highest point in the park. absolutely stunningly gorgeous. and the clouds kept shifting. it was breathtaking.
this was the lodge where i stayed. very rustic. opened in 1923. is on the national register of historic places. called the fryemont inn. the downstairs was really cool. pictures of that tomorrow b/c they aren't downloaded yet.
view from my room - see the little sliver of the smokies in the background?
the room was pretty rustic, but cute. when i walked around the windows rattled. the greatest thing was that dinner AND breakfast were included!!!! and i am talking about a REAL dinner - in the dining room next to a giant fireplace and i ordered steak!
next: more smoky mountains.
oh, and i am finally doing new orleans right now!!!!!!