The 11 Mile Traffic Jam - Cades Cove

Trip Start Oct 15, 2011
Trip End Oct 26, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today we got  up at 8:30 and had bagels for breakfast.  We left for Cades Cove about 9:45.  We drove the back way through Townsend to get there and it only took about 45 minutes.  We stopped first at the John Oliver Homestead.  It was set back off the road about 1/4 of a mile.  We walked back through the woods and the leaves were blowing out of the trees like large snow flakes in winter.  The homestead itself was in pretty good shape for being the oldest structure in Cades Cove.  It sets at the edge of the forest and you can see across the cove from there.  We walked through the meadow on the way back to the car.  The traffic was bumper to bumper when we left the homestead.  It took us a long time to get to our next stop.

Next we stopped at the primitive Baptist Church.  It was off the main loop road down a two-way gravel road.  When we arrived there was a presentation going on in the church.  The man was very good and helped us understand how the community who lived there helped each other.  There was no Social Security or Welfare, no Health Insurance etc.  The churches took care of orphans and widows and those who were sick.  If a house or barn burned down the community would build a new one for them.  At its peak before the Park service took over when it became part of the Great Smokie Mountains National Park, there were 685 people and 127 families.  Most of the people who lived  in the Cove were Union sympathizers but the Rebels came into the Cove and took teenage boys and the younger men to fight for them.  Russell Gregory formed a resistance movement and the Rebels came into the Cove and murdered him in his bed.  He is buried in the church yard at the primitive Baptist Church.  The cemetery was very interesting with a lot of deaths of infants and children.

It was slow going all the way to the Methodist Church.  But we got lucky and someone wanted to pull out just as we got there.  This church was more finished on the inside,  It had two doors, the one on the right for the men to enter and the left door for women and children to enter.  There was another very old cemetery with a lot of the same last names that we saw at the Baptist Church.  When we left and pulled into traffic, it moving at a crawl.  We pulled off for a short stop at a meadow with a great view.  Then we pulled back into the slow line of cars.  We came to a wooded section and traffic came to a stop.  We actually turned off the motor.  We finally found out the cause of the traffic jam.  A mother bear with two cubs went across the road a little ahead of us. 

When we finally got through there we came to the gravel road to the trail to Abrams Falls.  We pulled in and parked, used the composting toilets, and then got our chairs and lunches out and had a picnic.  After lunch we hiked the 2.5 miles to the falls.  It was a good hike with lots of up and down.  We went over a ridge and into an area where most of the few trees had lost their leaves and the slope was south facing.  By this time the temperature was in the high 70's or low 80's and the sun was on us.  We were really glad when the trail turned a corner and went back into the shade.  On the way to falls we crossed streams several times.  At the first crossing there was a proper footbridge and beside the bridge was a big tree with a small black rat snake on it.  The other bridges were made of logs that were flattened to walk on and had hand rails either on the right or on the left.  When we got back to the falls there were a number of  people back there.  I went close to the falls and took some pictures.  Then I found a shady spot and sat down on a rock to cool off.  We all sat in the shade for a while before we headed back.  When we got back to the parking lot we got our chairs out and drank a bunch of water.  We rested for a little bit then got back onto the loop road.

Our next stop was the Visitor Center and Cable Mill area.  We looked around in the Visitor's Center but didn't buy anything.  We walked around and saw the mill and mill race, the Smokehouse, Blacksmith shop, the Gregg-Cable house, the cantilever barn and other buildings.  We left about 5:00 and got back into bumper to bumper traffic.  This time it was turkeys and a Buck along the side of the road.  We didn't get back to the cabin until 6:30.  Larry started the charcoal and I got everything ready for when he started the bratwurst.  When he went in to get the bratwurst, he only found stew meat.  I had brought the wrong package.  So Larry went to the little store just down the road and got some.  We didn't eat until 8:00.  It was really good and we were really hungry.  We also had spaetzle (spetz-lah) and sauerkraut.  To make spaetzle I use German spaetzle noodles, cooked.  I brown onions in a stick of butter and grate swiss cheese.  Then I add the noodles to the skillet and coat them in the onions and butter and then add the cheese and stir and serve.  Delicious.

After supper I read for a while, worked on this blog and did the dishes.  Larry took a shower and Derek tried to figure out why we can't send email.  We have to put in our email password every time we send one, I guess.  I was next for the shower.  Even though we have two bathrooms, only one of them has a shower, the other has a jetted tub.  When I was finished I worked on getting pictures on the blog for the last two days.

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