ADVENTURE IN THE SMOKIES - Sunday, November 7, 2004
Today I'll be spending a whirlwind day in the Smoky Mountains. On the way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I encounter the General Lee in Gatlinburg, TN. As a kid, I was a huge fan of The Dukes of Hazzard, a silly TV series that ran from 1979-1985. The General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger, was the star of the show. Ha! This must be one of the few cars they didn't wreck in the show's many car stunts.
Entering into the park, I ascend up the mountainside almost 5000 feet in a little under 15 miles. Once at the ridgeline, I soak in the sights and snap off quite a few shots of the haze filled mountains that stretch out before me in the distance. Truly a great sight to see, I now understand why more than 9 million folks visit this park per year.
I then drive to Clingmans Dome, the park's highest point at 6,643 feet, to partake in two relatively short hikes. The first, Andrews Bald, takes me to a grassy meadow where the panoramic views entice my sense of wonder about the Smokies. My next hike takes me to Clingmans Dome, where I climb up a 5-story observation tower whose viewing platform looks a little like a UFO. From the tower I receive an unobstructed, 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains.
Evening finally sets in and I stick around to capture the sunset. The wait proves to be worthwhile, I manage to capture an amazing sunset. All the colors of the spectrum are present with the exception of green. But, in the end, I manage to give green its overdue recognition, if only through photo-editing.
After the sun goes down I drive back to Pigeon Forge, TN and van camp for a second night.
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