Friday, October 15, 2010

the smoky mountains

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:

 a cool looking dam

 pretty colors

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.
 this little river trail was good.  though i began to panic when i realized that i had no idea what to do if i saw a bear.  i had picked up a little brochure on bear safety in the visitor center but hadn't read it yet.  and left it in the car.  i decided that it must advise you to run like hell.  so i decided that is what i would do if i encountered a bear.  then i got back to the car and read up on it, and the park service advises "whatever you do, DO NOT RUN."  oopsie.   NOW i know that you are supposed to keep your eyes on the bear, back away slowly to create as much distance as possible, and the bear should do the same.  if the bear does not, then you are supposed to yell aggressively so it doesn't think you are prey, and throw any non-food item at it.  and then later, my horse guide jason told me that he got rid of one by barking like a dog. unfortunately, his pockets were filled with fish after a day of fishing and the bear did NOT back away immediately.  but did as soon as he barked like a dog.

before i reached the trailhead, there was a neat little village
 i don't know what the heck those hanging things are, but they were cool looking.

 parts of the woods were still pretty green.
 but definitely some color.  these photos really don't do justice to how brilliant it was.

 back to the village on the way back.  my monogram!

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.

 some more shots on the way back down

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!!!!!!

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