Day 79 - Great Smoky Mountain NP

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Aug 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Friday, August 16, 2013

The Great Smokey Mountains National Park is advertised as the -- largest  protected forest east of the Mississippi, -- the most diverse forest east of the Mississippi, and -- has the third tallest mountain east of the Mississippi.  I think I see a pattern -- that a visit would verify.

The Great Smoky Mountains NP is amazing, breath taking, and definitely worth the visit - but.  It is the best park east of the Mississippi.  Many parks and western non-parks compare with the Smokies.  The park has the feel of the most steep and  rugged parts of the Cascade mountains with mostly deciduous trees [clear to the mountain top] and no mountains  above 6,700 feet.  Also there are paved roads and view points nearly to the top of the tallest mountain the 6,643 foot --Clingmans Dome,

We also drove to what is called Cades Cove.  On the trip we followed a clear mountain stream with very large boulders and riffles for nearly 15 miles.  The Cades Cove was a name for a large meadow with homesteads between the mountains. It supported a small community of farmers.  Still standing are century old churches, grist mills, and settler's cabins/homesteads. 

During our travels we saw some wild turkeys, some deer - including a nice 3-point buck and could have seen a black bear if we decided to get out of our car and join the 50 people or so that appeared to have the bear treed -- not worth it.   Such is wildlife watching - east of the Mississippi.

The Smokies have the most diverse wildlife and plants, because of the glaciers of 15,000 years ago. As the glaciers spread from Canada to the base of the Smokies, it forced a lot of the animals and many plants into the Smoky mountains.  The glaciers receded but the plants and animals stayed in the smokies.

Tomorrow we plan to visit some of Gatlinburg's craft shops and maybe some more parts of the Smoky Mountains.  

Note:  This is officially our longest trip at 79 day [and still counting].  The Alaska trip at 68 days and Key West at 78 days - were our previously longest RV trips. -- jls

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Jan B. on

Cadies Cove sounds like a lovely little area. Would like to see the Smokies someday. Can't imagine having paved roads up to the top, but the mountains sound beautiful. Congrats on breaking the Strayer Travel Record! Is the duck tape holding out?

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