Big Day of driving and touring

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mammoth Cave Campground
What I did
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingmans Dome

Flag of United States  , Kentucky
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We woke up early and watched the mist and cloud swirl around the parking lot. We were packed up and on our way out of Asheville and on the way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by 8am. We stopped off at the Visitor Centre and picked up some more badges for the kids, they are now up to 5 National Parks. We went for a drive through the park and half the time we were in fog and mist, and the other half of the time we could see how the Park had gotten its name. The lifting fog and clouds rising out of the trees of the park sure evoked images of 'smoke' rising from the woods. We drove up to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the smoky mountains, and then went for a short 1/2 mile walk to the observation tower at the top. This was a trip down memory lane for Tim as he and his brother had ended up at the same place 17 years previously when walking a section of the Appalachian Trail. Despite the fog and lack of any sort of a substantial view, we walked to the top of the observation tower and KaMate requested a photo shoot. He also, still full of pep and vigour from his haka at the White House, decided to make a challenge to the Smoky Mountains and let rip with another impressive haka!!!! We walked back to the car and then were on our way through the rest of the park and for a bit of a drive to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
We stopped outside of Knoxville Tenessee at an organic food supermarket that Jess had found and purchased the supplies for another dinner. We were thrilled to think that we only had another one and a half hours to get to Mammoth Cave National Park, but the map and the distance was not tallying with what Bob was telling us. It seemed like we were a long way off from the park, but Bob was telling us we only had 30 minutes to go. However, after a bit of a puzzle and a head scratch, we realised that the discrepancy was due to the fact that we were changing from East Coast time to Central time!!!!! We did not realise that during the course of the late afternoon drive, we would be crossing into a different time zone. This is certainly not a problem we encounter when travelling in New Zealand!!! However, we still made it to the park in time to book a tour of the cave tomorrow morning. Back to set up our tent (yes, we are back in our tent again) and a lovely dinner of broccoli, potato pancakes and smoked pork bratwurst. We were intending to write this blog entry the next time we had wifi, but as Tim sat down to load the pictures on the computer in the middle of the campground, lo and behold we had a wifi signal all the way from the Visitor Center. So some caving tomorrow morning and whatever else the day will bring.
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