Smoky Mountains National Park

This post should be called Smoky Mountains aka Rainy Mountains.

The week of our vacation was the same week that hurricane Joaquin was threatening to make landfall in the southeast of the US, so it rained pretty much the whole week. That’s all fine and dandy for city tourist – there are museums, coffee shops, bars. Not so great for national parks. Ah well, we tried to make the most of it and still do some hikes and nature walks. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see many of the beautiful overlooks, but we did get lucky the one morning we were driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so head on over to that post for beautiful mountainous scenery. 🙂

Smoky Mountains-32

Smoky Mountains-6

We loved exploring the old mountain folks’ cabins that were leftover from the first European settlements in Tennessee, and imagining people’s lives out there in the mountain villages. Smoky Mountains-11

Smoky Mountains-68

Smoky Mountains-24

Smoky Mountains-47

There were several mills remaining mills remaining in the park. The early settlers used to re-direct water and build these mills to harness the power of water. Smoky Mountains-52

Smoky Mountains-15

The rainy weather didn’t stop us! We got ponchos so we can hike in the rain. Smoky Mountains-18

Smoky Mountains-34

Bear sighting! Just like in Yellowstone – when you spot a bunch cars pulled over, you know there is some good wildlife viewing. Smoky Mountains-40

And a less exciting turkey sighting: Smoky Mountains-55

Smoky Mountains-42

Smoky Mountains-43


We took a “WARNING: ONE WAY ROAD AHEAD WITH STEEP CURVES. DO NOT ENTER UNLESS YOU HAVE A HIGH CLEARANCE FOUR WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE” road right before darkness set. It was very steep and rough road at times, and we honestly weren’t sure we were going to make it out of there. My worst fear was getting stuck halfway through the 8 mile road and not being able to get help before dark. My hands were sweating up until about mile 7. Luckily the car made it out (only to find ourselves on the super windy Tail of the Dragon road right at dusk with fog and rain!!). At some point we saw this owl fly right over the car and I asked Aldo to stop so I could take a picture. It made us wonder – is this an omen?? Smoky Mountains-56

Smoky Mountains-62

Smoky Mountains-65

Smoky Mountains-74