Eastern Utah
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monday, 9/23, Asheville

I checked my email before I left the motel this morning and found a msg from Pat, who said she and her husband, Jim, were having breakfast at the Huddle House this morning.  We arranged to meet, and I was delighted to get to know a little about this delightful couple who are now living in Black Mountain, and who have recently bought a 5th wheel.  They plan a trip soon to visit relatives in Colorado, and I wish them all the luck and happiness in their travels.

 I urged Pat to start writing a blog to chronicle their RVing preparations and travels, and I will pass the link along if I get it.

So with such a great start to the morning - meeting new friends and eating a fine down-home breakfast as well - I was off to a good start on the BRP from Asheville to the Great Smoky Mountains NP.  The sun was too bright to get many good pictures on the eastern side of the Parkway.  My photography leaves a lot to be desired, and I know that.  When photographing nature, which I love to do, I find the pictures I store to memory are the best ones.  There is no film or artist's rendition that can match the glory of Mother Nature!  I'm glad to take pictures though (and to look at others' photos) as they sometimes enable me to recall a similar scene that is stored in my memory album.

This section of the Parkway is a lot different than the section I traveled from north to Asheville.  The scenery is a bit more rugged and there are many tunnels.  The tunnels are not lighted but have reflectors on the side walls and the roadway.  If you are in a curved tunnel and at the point where you cannot see daylight from either end, it can be a little nerve wracking.

The mountains are spectacular though.  The sunlight washes everything with a haze and I'm sure there are filters to help with that.

I took this picture because of the name "Licklog Gap".

I decided to stop at a campground just inside the Smoky Mountains Park, (Smokemont) and after setting up I walked a short nature trail.  "Short" doesn't mean no steep climbs and descents however.  I took lots of pictures of the creek but few of the trail.  That's because I was huffing and puffing!  I've stayed in this campground before as they allow you to park your vehicle at one end and spend as much time as you like in the backcountry.

Because rain was expected in the next day or so I decided to move on to Cumberland Gap National Park.  Rain is predicted for tomorrow, and if it rains then I will head west.  I don't have the time or the money to wait around for the rain to stop.  

I could have easily spent a week or two in the Smokies.  I love that place more than anywhere else I can think of.  But it brings back bittersweet memories of a decade or so ago when I had a great hiking partner and spent many great weeks backpacking in the Smokies as well as other beautiful locations in Virginia, TN/NC, West Virginia, Maryland, etc.  

In every campground so far I've been lucky to meet nearby tenters and have some great conversations.  I'm not sure what will happen here at Cumberland Gap, but I will enjoy my stay nonetheless.



  1. EEK! I sure couldn't walk over that skinny log bridge!

  2. Oh I sure love those pictures. Brings back precious memories. I need to get back to that area for a visit. My wife wouldn't cross a wide walk bridge so that log would be out of the question for her. I would love to take that walk, though.

  3. Oh I have such fond memories of our time spent in that area.

  4. Good for you - huffin' and puffin'. I do that walking up steps. I personally think you take beautiful photographs. I find it so hard to take a picture that I like. But they do help to trigger the memories.

  5. I think your pictures of the mountains are wonderful. Wish you could have stayed longer. I know you love it there. Do you have to return to California quickly?

  6. Great pictures .... so beautiful there. SMNP is the bomb too. Be great to stay for two week, the weather is going to start getting cold though.