Great Smoky Mountains NP, TN
Odometer Begin: 109,042
Miles traveled: 43 to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and back
Time spent traveling: 3 hrs
Other: Miles hiked: 11
Wx: sunny and cold in morning, then HOT! 80s F!
States traveled through: TN
Today started as a very lovely day. We awoke to the sounds of a enthusiastic Phoebe at 6 am. We chose our hike for the day as a trail that left about a mile from the campground. The Meigs Mountain Trail. Although, there was no summit just a trail termination in a “gap”, it was a gorgeous hike and surprisingly easy. Our walk took us through Elkmont, which is the Historic District of the “Appalachian Club” of the 1920s.This large group of cabins started out as a “Gentlemen’s Hunting Club” but soon became a getaway for affluent Knoxville families. In typical government fashion they took the buildings and land by eminent domain when the park was formed and now are in the mists of a historic restoration project, as in restoring the buildings to reflect their historic nature, not that the project itself is historic J. It is actually a really cool cluster of “camps” that must have been sad for the owners to let go of. This week in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they are in the peak of the wildflower season. There are wildflower lovers everywhere! We saw many flowers today on our hike, some familiar, some not, making me wish I had gotten my hands on a local wildflower guide. Although, I am not as in to it as the “Flower people” as we came to call them. For other flora and fauna news on the hike; we saw a Scarlet Tanager and heard barred owls calling back and forth, which was a little trippy to hear in the morning.
We returned to camp by early afternoon and decided to venture into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, (which is an, um colorful joint…), as we had to go to the grocery store anyway. We did swing by Dollywood but the new (?) by-pass made it feel too fee required and more effort to get to than we wanted to expel. We turned around before seeing anything but brand new pavement and little mini busses that Dollywood must use to transport the masses that show up daily. Besides, in Gatlinburg there was “Ribfest”, which is more in tuned with our thinking. There we saw professional eaters in a chicken wing eating contest. Round 5 was the napalm round and the four guys who were left were in rough shape. We returned to camp for dinner and a fire and then to bed, with the Coyote’s serenade.
For more photos click here.