Thursday, June 8, 2017

Great Smokey Mountains Pictures

We left the Land between the lakes bright and early to head farther east.  We had tickets to Mammoth Cave at 11:30 so wanted to make sure we had some buffer for the unexpected.  The trip went fine and we arrived an hour early.  Mammoth Cave was very cool, it's way bigger than I was expecting (yeah, yeah I know it's called Mammoth Cave but I figured on a standard marketing ploy) and being a dry cave was different than other caves we've been in.  After Mammoth we still had about 7 hours yet to reach our campsite at Cades Cove. We pulled in late, in the dark and it took the entire campground to help me get backed in.  It was terribly humiliating but I was thankful for the help and to be done with the day. 

This was one of my most looked forward to stops, I had read up on a lot of trails and even tried to talk the family into planning for an all day 11 mile hike (which was shot down but we had agreed to do some of the shorter hikes) but alas the Smokey's didn't want me hiking at all and every, I mean every attempt was stopped by the majestic mountains. We did make it to Clingmans Dome but I don't really consider it's paved path a hike.  From there you could step onto the application trail so that was cool but I was really hoping to hike a few miles on it.

Our very intense but excellent tour guide Jerry (aka Vicki)

Walking down into Mammoth Cave

In the cave

Shot of the family in the cave

Large tower we had to ascend to get out of the cave

Walking up and out of the cave the same way we came in

John Oliver's cabin

Working mill in the Cades cove loop

River by our campsite that the boys loved to play in when they had a chance

The token laundry shot.  Nothing like eating McD's in a laundry mat. Sanitary.

Weather held off for us to make it up Cligmans Dome, family pick from the parking lot

Heading up it was a pretty steep 1/2 mile walk.

That's Marcus in the middle he couldn't wait for us and was running ahead, he was pushing it but we could still see him so technically he was following the rules

Becky at the Newfound Gap we stopped at after Clingmans Dome

At the Newfound Gap you can walk onto the Appalachian Trail, I so wanted to hike for a while but at Clingmans Dome a Ranger we had asked about the Andrews Bald trail had said another strong cell was going to hit the area and it was getting late.  :-(

Getting ready to hike a leg of the Anthony River Trail which we could get to from our campsite.  It was our last day and I was determined to hike somewhere. It had been raining off and on the whole morning but not to hard so we went for it. We all got our packs on and headed out. 

On the trail

We were on the trail maybe 10 minutes and it down poured on us. 

We went another few minutes and it kept raining harder and thunder started rolling over head so we called it off.

Back at the camper Samus had fun.  Everyone and everything was soaked.

That evening it stopped raining and the kids played in the now swollen river

Our first bear sighting.  We've traveled to a lot of areas with bears and had yet to see one.  On our last night we went on the Cades Cove loop again and finally had our first bear encounter.  We were super excited.

Farther on the loop we saw our second and final bear of the drive.

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