Friday, May 1, 2015

Great Smoky Mountains

From Sweetwater we meandered to Tellico Plains and across the Cherohala Skyway to Robbinsville, NC continued to Fontana Lake, where we had originally thought of spending the night but instead pressed on to Cherokee and the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rather than follow the Blue Ridge Parkway we started the trek back over the Great Smoky Mountains on the 441, stopping for the night at the Smokemont campground.

Ar Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Introduced in 2001 when 25 elk were brought to the Cataloochee Valley, the Great Smoky Mountain NP is now home to a herd of around 150: 

The next morning, our journey continued north from Smokemont across the Smokies, eventually recrossing into Tennessee:

Exiting the beautiful Smokies our senses were reviled by the tourism that is Gatlinburg and (even more so) Pigeon Forge.  If you enjoy man-made amusements the ilk of Disney or England's Blackpool then you'll like Pigeon Forge.  For us, perhaps as a function of our senior years, not so much!

A late lunch / early dinner at Applewood Farmhouse in Sevierville was better than expected and afforded an opportunity to wander their grounds and stores.  

From there yet another night at Wally World; this one in Maryville.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is some elevation! You know that area is much older then our own Sierra Mountains. They say that at one time, long ago, those mountains were as tall, if not taller, then the Sierras, but are much more worn down, and more ancient too.

    I agree with your sentiments of Pigeon Forge! For myself, I would be overcome with mental nausea followed by a severe bout of cerebral vomiting on such a horrid display of retina violation. It is good you post this abomination photo, it helps cement my memory for the future in order to avoid this tourist pitcher plant and not fall prey to its sweet, almost siren like call to visit!