A driving tour of the Smoky Mountains

7/2/13.. Well it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to be easy to fall behind on the blog while we are in areas like this. So let me try to catch up.

Tuesday we decided to take Jack along and do a driving tour of part of the Smoky Mountains so we loaded up and headed for Newfound Gap Road. It’s the only route over the  Great Smoky Mountains. It stretches for 31 miles between Gatlinburg TN. And Cherokee NC. And climbs from 1300’ to 5046’ at Newfound Gap.

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It was nice and sunny when we left Pigeon Forge but it wasn’t long after we started our climb that we ran into heavy heavy fog which was a bummer because we couldn’t see the sights that we knew were there.

We did stop and check out a few streams along the way but for the most part we just enjoyed the drive to Cherokee and hoped for some clearing for the drive back over.

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After driving around Cherokee for a while we headed back over the mountain. The fog had lifted some but it was far from being clear.

On the way back we stopped at the Mountain Farm Museum. It’s located on the NC side of the mountain.

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The Mountain Farm Museum is a collection of historic log buildings gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved on a single site. Buildings include a house, barn, applehouse, springhouse, and smokehouse. Most of the structures were built in the late 19th century and were moved here in the 1950s.

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The Davis House offers a rare chance to view a log house built from chestnut wood before the chestnut blight decimated the American Chestnut in our forests during the 1930s and early 1940s.

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There is even a hog pen with a couple of good looking pork chops running around inside LOL!!

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While I toured the farm Diane walked jack on a trail that allowed pets adjacent to the Farm Museum and I took over with Jack while Diane toured the farm. We didn’t know how long we would be gone and we left Jack in the RV the last couple days so we were feeling a little guilty so we brought him with. It’s just something we have to work around at times.

After the museum  we kept heading back up the mountain. As I mentioned the fog had lifted enough to give us a few good glimpses of the mountains and valleys below so we made a few stops but I’m thinking we just may do this drive again if we have time and if the weather clears.

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At the top of Newfound Gap there is a 7 mile road that takes you to Clingmans Dome trailhead. The trail is a very steep ½ mile walk that takes you to Clingmans Dome tower and the highest point in the Smokies at 6643 ft.

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It was pretty foggy at the parking lot and once again pets were not allowed so Diane remained in the Jeep with Jack while I walked to the visitor center.  Once I got to the visitor center and saw a picture of the tower at the end of the trail I just had to go!! I figured I would just knock that 1/2 mile out in a slow jog or fast walk and be back before Diane even knew I was gone,,,,,, RIIIIIIIGT!!!! That darn ½ mile felt like 5 by the time I reached the top. But once I was going there was no turning back. And if it were a clear day I would say it would be well worth it but with the fog still being very think and only allowing a peek a boo view I probably could have lived without doing it.

I didn’t spend much time up top before I started back down. That was worse on my bad knee than the walk up was. Here is a link about the Dome.

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/clingmansdome.htm

I felt sort of bad because I know it took longer than I had planned to be gone but Diane was a good sport. Of course I told her to go hike it and Jack and I would be waiting but she decided what pictures I took were good enough for her. And if we came back up on a better weather day we could hike it together. Well um,,,,,, ok LOL!!

After the Dome we continued on and worked our way home. It was a good day but a little disappointing weather wise.

Wednesday we plan to drive through Townsend and head into a area of the Smokies called Cades Cove and do the driving tour. Stay tuned!!

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One Response to A driving tour of the Smoky Mountains

  1. Tom & Carol says:

    Now you know why they call them the ‘Smokies’! lol
    It’s aggravating – we just wanted to take our hands and scoop the fog away so we could see better, tool. Nonetheless, it’s beautiful there.
    Oh, we did meet a lady who said the Blue Ridge mountains were even prettier than the Smokies. Will have to go there sometime.
    Happy Travels!

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