Smoky Mountains

4,800 miles so far!


The last couple of days have been lots of driving and hiking.  We’ve gone from one end of the Smoky Mountains to the other.  On Saturday, it was cold, blustery and raining.  What a difference a day makes!  Easter Sunday dawned bright and clear and the park just came alive.  You can see my pictures here.


It’s still on the early side of Spring here.  Some of the trees are blooming, but most don’t have leaves yet, especially in the higher elevations.  However, with sunshine, the park really is beautiful.  Its beauty grows on you and I can see why so many people come back or even move to this area.  It has great appeal.


I even like Gatlingerg, Tennessee, where we spent Saturday night.  The guide book describes it as Heidi meets Hillbilly:  vaguely Bavarian meets hick mountains.  It was cool, with great energy.  I have a picture or two in the photos.


Easter Mass wasn’t so easy in Gatlinberg, however.  We located the Catholic church near our hotel and drove by on Saturday night.  The Mass times were posted and nothing indicated they changed for Easter.  Bob checked the church’s website: same thing.  We even checked with the front desk of the hotel and that guy also confirmed the Mass times.  But when we got there nice and early, we found a brand new sign announcing Mass started an hour earlier.  People were streaming in from all directions on foot because there were several hotels in the areal.  All of them, along with us, were shocked to find Mass was moved back an hour.  It seems when we travel over Easter, Mass always gets screwed up.


Today I crossed an item off my bucket list.  I walked on the Appalachian Trail.  I have to say, it’s pretty rough; like you could easily break your neck rough.  We walked about a quarter mile along the trail which follows the NC/TN state line in this area.  See the pictures, because its rough.


We also climbed to the top of Clingmans Dome, one of the tallest mountains in the park.  There was a nicely paved road to follow, but the incline was insane.  Thank goodness the views were all worth it.  I saved you the climb and put the pictures in the photo gallery.  : )  I know I’m going to be sore tomorrow.


By late afternoon, we were ready to sit for awhile.  We did lots of hiking today.  So, we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the sights. I have some pictures here.  We only went about 85 miles, as far as Asheville, NC, and we ended up staying in the same hotel we were in on Friday night.


Tomorrow, we’re really looking forward to the Biltmore Estate.  I’ve always wanted to see it and I’d kick myself if I let the steep entrance fees stop us.  So, that’s the plan!

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