Friday, July 21, 2017

Clingmans Dome, GSMNP, NC

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee.  We drove up to check out the views at the observation tower.  You can drive almost all the way to the tower. There is just a short, but very steep (350 elevation gain in .5 mile) paved trail up to the tower. So we did that to enjoy the views and then walked a bit of the Appalachian Trail which cuts right through the area and then on to the Forney Ridge Trail.  The Forney Ridge Trail takes you through beautiful, dark, wet, lush green forest to Andrews Bald which is an open meadow at the end of a ridge.  Again, great views!

view on the drive up to Clingmans Dome

Forney Ridge Trail

looking past wild azalea bushes to the hill beyond

Andrews Bald

heading back down the mountain

wild flowers everywhere!
Turks cap lily

Beautiful wild flowers line the roads up in the park and add to the beauty of the lush forest.  It is a few degrees cooler and the shade from the trees helps while hiking.  Getting out early is still more comfortable though as the temps are in the low 80's with 60+ percent humidity!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Great Smokey Mtns NP, NC

Our second visit into the park we drove back to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, the closest visitor center to us here in Cherokee, in the early morning to see if we could view the elk herd that we were told hangs out there in the mornings and evenings.  We barely passed the park sign on the way in and saw this gal hanging out in the median:

I think she is the official park greeter;) Her ear tag says 138

 The river trail starts at the
visitor center

We did not, at first, see any other
elk until we started the trail..
we saw a couple of elk close to the trees but no more......

 Then we entered the forested area between the field and the river and began to see elk everywhere!!
the herd was hanging out in the trees, very hard to get good pics this way!

3 babies in this pic!  See the little face to the right?

this gal was our greeter! She had wondered in to the trees while we were walking along the path, 

It was great seeing them like this!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Great Smokey Mountain National Park, NC

Hi All, we are back from visiting family and other things this past month and moved yesterday from Athens, Georgia to Cherokee, North Carolina for 2 weeks.  We started our stay off today with our first visit and hike in Great Smokey Mountain NP.  I think I'm gonna like this place!

hike here......OK!

Kephart Prong that is not me in the pic

thats me, loving the beautiful surroundings

the trail followed a wonderful, rushing stream with countless cascading waterfalls!

log bridges were a little scary, def had to watch your step

we passed over 4 bridges, 3 like this....just a log and a rail. Awesome!  

after the hike, we visited Mingus Mill, a 130 old operating grist mill in the park.  

In nearby Bryson City we checked out the beer at Nantahala Brewery(had a couple of sours!) and.....

Mountain Layers Brewery

Both had some worth
View of part of Bryson from second floor of Mountain Layers Brewery