Sunday, October 14, 2012

Smokey Mt. Nat'l. Park Oct 2012

Smokemont Campground - Great Smokey Mt. National Park (Oct. 2012)

What a great long weekend (4 days)!  First time we've stayed at a park with no water or electric at the sites.  Wasn't too sure about no showers but ... it was fine.  Weather was cool to quite cool (40s-70s).

The first day we went to the other side of the park to do Cades Cove Loop, then took an 8 mile (off-road) trail thru the woods - over areas where the water was running across the track - to connect with Tail of the Dragon.  What a great ride!  We'd done the Tail of the Dragon before and just wanted to do it again.  The track out of Cades Cove was a little scary in my non-4 wheel drive jeep but we made it!

Second day we went to Clingman's Dome - 6643' elevation.  Phew!  I had a hard time breathing that last 1/2 mile climb to the top.  Unfortunately it was all socked in -

Clingman's Dome (in the clouds)

The elk were incredible!  We saw them twice - a herd of at least 12!  The "bull" was pretty impressive!  And he came out of the woods - after all the females - walking like a king.  Not hard to tell he was in charge.

The fall colors were about peak, I'd say.  Higher elevations a lot of the leaves were half gone.  This picture is at an old mill in the park - about 1200-1500' elevation. (Molly was afraid (initially) of the leaves blowing around on the ground!)

Great trip all together!  Long drive from Central Florida though!  Spent around 11 hours in the car - each way.  Probably do it again next year!