Sunday, October 31, 2010

Morning in Cades Cove

The results of an early morning drive through Cades Cove:

Wild turkeys struttin' their stuff!


Handsome prince!

Look at those flashy colors!!

A friend of CarrieBearie's.

"Oh! What are you doing here?!! Don't you know? You're supposed to stay on the road!" (mutters as exits stage left: "dumb tourists").

The Hamp Tipton Place.

Visitor "autographs" in the Tipton cabin...

Tipton's double-cantilever barn.

The Carter Shields Cabin.

And back to the first morning shot. I had spent quite awhile waiting on the sun earlier, hoping to photograph the horses in sunlight. But no. Right before the sun crept up on them, the horses all wandered back to the barn for breakfast!! Ergh! But, on my second partial pass at the loop, they were back out, so...!

So, the main tourist to-do here is the loop road. It is a paved one-way 11-mile road (with a couple dirt cross-over, one-way roads) that people can walk, bike, or drive. This gets back to the less-cool parts of this part of the park... Cades Cove is extremely popular. The likelihood of getting stuck behind lots of slow-moving, or often stopped, traffic is very high. Now, if everyone is stopped to look at a bear, AND you get to see the bear too? Well, that's OK then! But that's not usually the case... And this one morning, a whole bunch of us actually got stuck behind an entire family on bikes. If the family could all pedal at 20 mph, no problem! But this gaggle included little teeny kids on little teeny bikes...not exactly 20 mph material...! I was astonished as the rest of the family motored on around a curve, leaving their poor little boy behind. He was off his bike, walking as fast as he could to catch up. I felt sorry for the kiddo and disgusted with his family - for both being unmindful of their own child, as well as unmindful of the rest of us, who were stuck going about 2 mph!! Unbelievable.

Tennessee Williams?

May 23rd: over windy narrow little roads and through crazy tourist towns to get to the northwestern part of the Great Smokies. This, in order to visit a much-touted part we'd missed on our previous trip to the Smokies: Cades Cove.

At a rest stop enroute.

We stayed at The Mountaineer, a little old, kind of squeezed-in, campground in Townsend, TN. Our site looked down at the Little River, and came with a deck and table. So one morning we had breakfast outside, and tied up all the critters near (but not too close to...) the table. Here, are some very eager doggies, anticipating their next bacon bites!

Ah, Cades Cove. Wonder of wonders. At least that's the way some folks talk about it. It is an interesting and nice enough place, but it's not quite what I'd expected. And it has its drawbacks. Cool parts and not so cool parts. Basically, this valley was homesteaded by Europeans in the early 1800s (with some initial help from the Cherokees in the area).

The history of the area is interesting - it's always amazing to realize what people had to endure, adapt to, and overcome in order to survive in a land so new to them. But the history is also deeply disturbing - to me, at least. The federal government usurped the land and incorporated it into the park. And people were still living off the land there at the time! They were initially told the national park would not include Cades Cove, but the feds ultimately reversed that plan and used eminent domain to steal these peoples' homes, farms, lives, and livelihoods (see Wikipedia on this:, look under "The National Park" part). Seizing the land out from under original homesteaders like that reminds me of denying our military a feasible way and timeline to vote. How can we allow a vote to happen without those laying down their lives for their country being able to have a say?!!! How can the government evict the very citizens who helped colonize their land?!!! To me, this is inexcusably despicable.

But's the first part of our tour... These are photos and stops I took while with Billy, so they are with just the point & shoot. This is John Oliver's cabin (hidden back in the woods, up the trail in the previous picture). Oliver and his wife, Lucretia Frazier, were the first homesteaders in the valley.

The Cades Cove Methodist Church.

A beautiful afternoon in a beautiful place. After the government stole the land and incorporated it into the Great Smoky National Park, the park service was persuaded to maintain the farmland as a meadow (although they did remove all the more modern buildings of the previous inhabitants).

One of the more remarkable adaptations/innovations we saw was the little springhouse for storing cold foods. Water from a spring was routed with hollowed-out logs into a trough in this room, and then more hollowed-out logs directed water out again on the other side. So there was constantly flowing water keeping the trough cold, where food items could be placed. Pretty cool, eh?

Here's the trough. Maybe not cold enough for ice cream, but I'll bet it allowed them to keep their dairy goods fresh a little longer...!

The Elijah Oliver house - the cold trough was in the back a ways.

And then there was Aunt Becky, who was obviously a can-do woman (enlarge this photo to read the description of her)!

Her neat house.

One of the rooms inside.

These folks had every kind/shape/size of barn! Here's one rendition.

And a local "tour bus" of sorts! These folks were very cooperative and nice to let me take their photo. I just loved their set-up! Looked like fun to me!

Another little cabin - Dan Lawson Place (circa 1856).

One of them Smoky Mtn bears...!

And another area resident I found by a creekbed just outside of Cades Cove. I guess the government didn't make HIM move!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Because the falls area was so pretty - and easy access, right at the beginning of the trail - I dragged Bill and the dogs back to see as well.

And of course Camera Carrie got waylaid right off the bat with a neato moth-type (or butterfly - I'm afraid I'm not always good at discriminating between them)! I'm not sure if those were just color lines on the wings or ironed-on creases or what! :) But it sure was white and pretty!

I finally caught up again with the crew.

More neat little butterflies! These little blue guys were everywhere! But it was hard to get photos of them - they didn't sit still very long!

Look at Ouray's blue earring! Nah! It was one of those blue butterflies! I used a flash to try and get a decent photo of it even though it was on the move. I like the effect - sort of a mystical Ouraydog moment...

The Waterfalls

While I had some trouble walking after my hike (of around 3.5 miles and 2000' gain - especially tough on a squishy, out of shape, fat RVer body!!!!), I managed to revisit the first section of the trail with my tripod for some photos of the beautiful creek and waterfalls. Come check it out with me!

The Hike

One of the main reasons friend Don mentioned Table Rock was for the hike up to...? Table Rock, of course! So I planned the hike for one of the two days we were going to be there. It was a nice cool, cloudy day - one of my favorites for hiking. Rain was also forecast for the day, but I was hoping to beat it up the hill. I didn't. It showed up way ahead of time. So that meant no views from the top and hiking in a virtual mini-river for much of the time. But it was still great fun and worth it!
Some super-cool, unusual flowers enroute.
Up near the top, there were some big rock sections to cross. To help with these (especially nice to have on a potentially slippery day like this day!), steps had been cut out.

Here I am, at the top, completely soaked through and dripping wet!

Back down, walking through water much of the way.

Yes, this is also the trail.

A pretty fungus amongus.