Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Road Trip day 5: Great Smoky Mountains Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, Wednesday, 20 July 2016 3:35pm

We started the day out with a hike to Hen Wallow Falls. On our way to the trailhead, we ran across a gaggle of wild turkeys in the campground.

Adrienne's big hope for Great Smoky Mountains was to see a bear. Amazingly, about a mile and a half into the hike we did! We were walking along, taking pictures of the abundant fungi growing along the sides of the trail (so many shapes and colors), when we turned a corner and heard a rustling in the underbrush ahead of us. We saw something moving, and I joked that it was probably a bear. Adrienne thought it was more likely to be a wild pig... until she saw its ears! Totally a bear. We slowly backed off a few hundred yards and sat on a log for ten minutes or so before continuing along the trail. As we passed the area where we'd seen it, we could hear it breathing and disturbing underbrush a ways away. It looked like it had eating some raspberries that were growing at the edge of the trail.

The rest of the hike was nice, but not as exciting. We saw lots more mushrooms and some forest wildflowers, and ended up at a pleasant waterfall.

We were pretty hungry when we got back to camp, so we decided to head over into North Carolina and get some lunch. We ended up in Asheville, had some tasty sandwiches (Adrienne had an eggplant gyro, which surprised me with how gyro-like it was) and local micro brews.

We decided to take the scenic route back: the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a lovely drive, with lots of nice curves and turnouts with great scenery: long views over forests to distant mountains and meadows full of wildflowers. The Parkway ends near a different entrance to the National Park, and shortly after returning to the park proper, we saw a small herd of elk, including several calves in a large meadow and stopped to take some pictures and watch them through the binoculars.

On exiting the park, we found ourselves in Gatlinburg, which reminded me a lot of the parts Cancun that I do my best to avoid.


g-na (Anonymously) Sunday, 24 July 2016 9:20am

Asheville is nice, a very cute little town. And, heh, I was recently in Gaitlinburg for the first time. Why does any town need multiple Xmas stores?