Monday, October 16, 2006

Smokey Mountains Weekend

After having so much fun on my Colorado trip with the T@B, I decided to go to the Smokey Mtns for an October weekend to take in the fall colors.

On the way down, I stopped at one of my favorite areas for nature-- Land Between the Lakes just southeast of Paducah, Kentucky. The lakes produce a wonderful fog every morning in the fall, and lots of birds stop there on their migrations south. This was a blue heron out for a morning flight just before sunrise.

I had last been to the Smokeys a couple years ago for a photo workshop in Townsend, just south of Gatlinburg. I liked that it was smaller, quieter, and less commercial than Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, so I decided it'd make a great place to camp. I stayed at a terrific RV park called Little River Village just a mile or so from the park entrance.

Inside the park, the colors were rather muted and not quite turned yet. But, it's still a beautiful, peaceful place anyway. Here are a few photos from the river that runs alongside the road between Townsend and Gatlinburg.

I decided one night to drive up to Clingman's Dome for the sunset. It had been sunny and about 50 down in the forest, but once I got up to the summit, it was about 30 and extremely windy. So, I did what all the other photographers were doing--- planted my tripod out where I wanted to shoot my sunset shots, and then retreated to my warm car to wait for the sun to go down.

It was well worth the wait! Simply amazing color from up there.

The next morning, I did the drive through Cades Cove at sunrise. I had remembered from my last visit that mornings were foggy there and that the stables usually let their horses graze in the pasture in the early morning, so they did not disappoint this time around!

My final stop was to return to the Roaring Forks Motor Tour drive just north of Gatlinburg. Most tourists wiz through this short drive not thinking much about it (just looks like a pretty forest). But off the side of the road in one section, down a ravine, is this wonderful creek with moss-covered rocks. I had gotten some good shots here during my Spring photo workshop, and it was still equally as nice to photograph in the fall.

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