Saturday, June 1, 2013

Traveling Across the Smokies Part Two - 2012

Driving across the Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains, TN
My original plan for the day, was to drive straight through the Smoky Mountains, to the Smokemont Riding Stables.  I wanted us to do the 2 and a half hour waterfall horseback ride, but I was still concerned about the last horseback riding incident.  I also was not sure if we could make it from Townsend to Smokemont before 9:30 a.m.  To tell you the truth, I did not feel like getting up early and rushing.  I do that everyday of my life.  I was on vacation.

Driving across the Smoky Mountains
Driving across the Smoky Mountains
 After talking to Nadia and explaining that we needed to drive across The Smoky Mountains to get to the Blue-Ridge Parkway for our next journey of our road-trip, she surprised me!  She was like “YYYYAAAAYYYY! So, we are going to go to that place again, where you can stand at the border of North Carolina and Tennessee? And we are, climbing Clingman’s Dome again.”  I was like, “So, you really want to do all that again?  I thought we decided last year, we were not going to climb Clingman’s Dome again?” “Uh, you may have had a hard time, but I didn’t.  We have to climb it again.”  She replied.  As I sat there and thought to myself, really? I have to get up that steep hill again? Then I was amazed.  Nadia really enjoyed herself last year on our exploration of the Smoky Mountains.  We do need to see those things again.  So, forget rushing to go horseback riding, we are just going to take our time and drive across the Smoky Mountains.

Views from New Found Gap Road - Smoky Mountains - Family Vacations
Views from New Found Gap Road 
After we packed that car up, we said goodbye to the cabin and started out on the next leg of our trip.  We headed to the Newfound Gap Road.  This is the road that takes you across the Great Smoky Mountains.  There are many overlooks and views from this road.  It is an extremely scenic drive.

Views from New Found Gap Road - Smoky Mountains - Family Vacations
Views from New Found Gap Road
One of the mileposts we stopped at was Mile Post 14.7, which is Newfound Gap.  The elevation is at 5,046 feet.  The air was cooler here and mist could be seen blowing in from a distance.  Newfound Gap is where the state line is located and where you can find a route for the Appalachian Trail.  We hung around here for a little while admiring the view and walking around.

New Found Gap - State Line - Tennessee/North Carolina
New Found Gap - State Line - Tennessee/North Carolina
When we got back in the car, we headed over to Clingman’s Dome.  I told myself I was not going to have an anxiety attack this time.  I was just going to take my time going up the hill.  The weather was quite chilly to us. Ok, so it was like 65 degrees.  That is chilly for Floridians :) There was a lot of fog at the top and looked like it could rain at any moment, but it did not.  This time I made it to the top of Clingman’s Dome with no problems. The elevation was 6,643 Feet. We took many pictures.

Clingman's Dome Hike - Smoky Mountains
Clingman's Dome Hike - Smoky Mountains
After our hike at Clingman’s Dome, we continued our travels through the Great Smoky Mountains admiring the view.  We reached the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, which was the last visitor center before leaving the park.   Nadia and I got out to stretch a bit and walked around.  We got back in the car and headed to the Blue-Ridge Parkway - well almost.  Of course I missed the exit.

Clingman's Dome Hiking Trail - Observation Tour - Smoky Mountains, TN
Observation Tower
After turning around in Cherokee, we headed back to the Smokies and then Nadia and I saw it. “Blue-Ridge Parkway, turn here”.  We were finally on our way to our new adventure.  Driving the whole Blue-Ridge Parkway. 

Clingman's Dome Hiking Trail - Smoky Mountains, TN
Clingman's Dome Hiking Trail
Below is my newest book that is available on Amazon that was written about this road trip along with some added bonuses



Below is my first travel guide