Great Smoky Mountains National Park

During our get-together in Pigeon Forge, my friends and I focused mostly on hanging out together. We did some shopping, did a lot of eating, threw a surprise baby shower for one person (at which I gave her the recently completed baby cardigan), watched some movies, and talked a lot.park1.jpgIt was all great fun, but I couldn’t be so close to mountains and forests without going for a hike. So I spent a morning with one of the friends (the other three weren’t interested in getting up at 6 a.m. to catch the good light and beat the crowds) hiking in nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park.oark2.jpgBy arriving early, we managed to see some of the rising mist that gave the mountains their name.park3.jpgWe spent a few hours on the AT and met several volunteers who were working on the trails that day. One of them, Pete, looked to be in his sixties, and when he stopped to chat I realized that, in addition to the loaded pack on his back, he was wearing a full tool belt and carrying in his hands a pickaxe, a sledgehammer, and an axe–and he was cruising along at a good clip and barely out of breath. Wow.park4.jpgOn the trail, I always see lots of interesting things that I try to photograph…park5.jpg…but the pictures never seem to do them justice. I think you need to smell the air and hear the sounds around you, too, to get a good sense of the place.park6.jpgIn the visitor’s center, I kinneared this girl who was taking her Junior Ranger oath. I was struck by her seriousness about the whole thing. I wonder if, once she gets home, she’ll forget the interest in nature that motivated her to complete this program, or if she’ll grow up to be a tree hugger.park7.jpg

5 Responses to “Great Smoky Mountains National Park”

  1. Chrison 28 Jun 2010 at 7:59 pm

    You have excellent kinnearing skills!

    Love that First Amendment Area sign – haven’t seen one of those before.

  2. Marshaon 29 Jun 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I was a little surprised to see it there, too. I would have expected it more likely to appear somewhere like, say, Independence Hall National Historic Park. I worked across the street from IHNHP for three years and never saw signs like that. Maybe all the rabble-rousing free-speechers had been scared away by the sight of park rangers packing heat.

  3. melindaon 01 Jul 2010 at 10:58 am

    Very nice photos!

  4. Bethon 05 Jul 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Lovely photos of the Smokeys. And what a fun photo of the junior ranger. I saw a similar first amendment sign at Dickey’s Frozen Cusardt in Bethany Beach.

  5. Katie Jon 08 Jul 2010 at 10:02 pm

    That first photo is breathtaking. What a great trip!