Pictures From October 2018 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

4-27-18 to 4-29-18 Three Outstanding Days at Cades Cove

Camping at Cades Cove Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Once again we have been without cell phone service or internet for the past three days.

Friday 4-27 Going Back to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee 

We woke up to drizzle and low clouds but it was time to move on. Today we drove from Cherokee to Cades Cove Campground, about 55 miles. It took us a few hours consider the road wound through the mountain and at times the turns were very tight. We took the same two lane road that we had taken on the motorcycle the other day to Gatlinburg. We drove through a few tunnels and saw great vistas of the mountains. At places we saw a beautiful mountain river that ran right next to the road. The river had a lot of current and rapids that kayakers would enjoy. We had rain for the last few day so there were a lot of small water falls along side the road. We didn’t go all the way to Gatlinburg, we turned left at Sugarlands Visitor Center. This road was also a two lane curvy road, at places there were rock cliffs that came over the road. We drove in fog part of the way. As we were driving we saw deer and wild turkeys. We stopped once because we saw a bear, it was on a hill right next to the road. This was so cool. After taking pictures we continued to Cades Cove Campground. The drive was spectacular.

Driving in the fog to Cades Cove
Bear on the side of the road
 A tunnel we drove through

When we got to the campground we stopped at the office, they told us to find a site and then come back to pay. There were two loops, one you can run a generator and the other one was generator free. Our site was in the loop that allows generator. We setup the Minnie and then went over to pay. This campground has a park store with trinkets and a snack bar. 

When we got back to the site we barbecued burgers for lunch. Then we went on a motorcycle ride. We drove the Cades Cove Loop, it is 11 miles long on a one way road. The loop is a scenic drive with different places to stop, there are old churches, old homesteads and hiking trails to falls. As we drove the loop we saw wild turkeys and eight black bears. There was a bear jam at one place so we decided to stop. We were glad we did because we saw a mama bear and her three cubs. The park rangers were directing traffic and were making sure people stayed far enough away from the bears. The ranger that was where the bears were told us that the cubs were yearlings. We watched her and her cubs for a long time until they crossed the road and climbed the hill. This was very exciting. As we were walking back to the motorcycle we decided to walk to the church up the road. It was the Missionary Baptist Church that was built in 1839. It was a pretty church and had a nice graveyard on the side. Some of the graves were very old, others were newer and some didn’t have dates on them. We had a super ride on the loop.

Mama bear and her three cubs
The three cubs crossing the street to get back to mama
The Missionary Baptist Church built in 1839

After our ride we relaxed on our chairs and enjoyed our campsite. After dinner we went for a walk around the campground to see where the trailhead was located. Larry basically knew where it was but there wasn’t a way to get to it from the campground without walking the road because of the river. We found it in the day area. As we were walking around the day area we decided to go to the stables. We were walking the road and saw a few deer, in fact they were very close to us. One crossed the road so the other two decided to follow. It was a busy road and the second one that went across was lucky it didn’t get hit, a truck stopped just in time. The driver waited for the third one to get across. We walked around the stables. It was a very nice facility. Then we went back to our campsite. We had an outstanding day

The creek that runs between the day area and the campground

A couple of deer grazing in the campground

Saturday 4-28 Hiking at Cades Cove

We woke up to temperature in the 40’s, a great temperature for a hike. After having breakfast we went on a six mile hike. We started our hike at the trailhead across the street from the stables. Before hiking we walked by the stables. They had a lot of their horses saddled waiting for people to go horse back riding and a couple of them harnessed with buggies for people to go for a ride. In the field where they had hay for the horses we saw a few wild turkeys and a couple of deer. 

Waiting to take people for a ride

We took the Indian Grave Gap Trail, it was a moderate trail. We had to cross over the creek ten different times, there were no bridges so we had to walk through the creeks on rocks. The trail took us up the mountainside. There were lots of roots and rocks in the trail so you had to be careful. Many of the trails throughout the Great Smoky Mountains were made from old roads and railroad tracks. We had a pleasant surprise while hiking, we hiked to John Oliver's Place. John Oliver bought the land in 1826 and it was in the family for over 100 years until the park was established. It was a beautiful cabin. After hiking three miles we turned around and headed back. As we were hiking back we started seeing people hiking the trail. A few people told us they saw a bear so Larry was on the lookout for the bear. He found it but it was hard to see considering it was up on the hill behind a fallen tree. We had an outstanding hike.

Larry crossing over the creeks via rocks

John Oliver cabin built 1826

W crossed creeks 20 times

By the time we got back to our campsite it was lunchtime,  we rested for a little while before having lunch. I walked over to the store and bought nachos. They weren’t very good but it was something different. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the campsite and walked around the campground a couple of times. The campground was very busy, people were enjoying the park in both the campground and day area. What a super day.  

Sunday 4-29 Rich Mountain Loop Trail

We started the day out by hiking another six and a half miles. This time when we got to the trailhead we took the trail to the right instead of left. We hiked 2.2 miles of Rich Mountain Loop Trail, where it branches off to other trails and then we turned around and came back. The terrain was basically the same as yesterday except a little steeper. We crossed over the creek twice both ways. As we were hiking we stopped occasionally to look at the view of the mountains, there was a lot of trees so it was hard to get a good picture of the views. The views were very nice, you can see the trees changing color as you looked up the hill. At the beginning of the hike we saw a great waterfall. We were glad to have hiked up hill at the beginning of the hike instead of at the end. We saw a group of five guys and four couples hiking the trail. The hike was very peaceful. 

Waterfall along the trail

Rich Mountain Trail
A view of the mountains from the trail

By the time we got back we were tired so we spent the rest of the day sitting in our chairs and enjoying our site. I should rephrase this Larry sat in his chair and I sat inside because it was a little nippy outside. After dinner we walked around the campground. We had another gorgeous day.

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I would love to hear friendly comments on anything at all. Ruth