Anyway, to continue from the last post, after we left Lookout Mountain we headed across the state to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our first stop was Clingmans Dome.
|I think my favorite thing about the Smokies are the layers of mountains.|
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. Only North Carolina's Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) rises higher.
Clingmans Dome is a popular Park destination. Located along the state-line ridge, it is half in North Carolina and half in Tennessee.
The peak is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap, and then walking a steep half-mile trail. A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower.
The cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome's summit make it a coniferous rainforest. Unfortunately, pests, disease, and environmental degradation threaten the unique and fragile spruce-fir forest.
Dead trunks litter the area, and dying trees struggle to survive another year. Berries thrive in the open areas, and a young forest will replace the dying trees. (http://www.clingmansdome.com/)
I loved this cloud formation. It reminded me of a baby elephant lifting its trunk.
When we left the sun was beginning to set so we stopped at a pull-off where a very nice couple had set up some lawn chairs and were having wine and cheese while watching the sunset. We struck up a conversation with them and funny enough, it turns out we have the same anniversary except we're one year later.
It was a lovely way to end our first day in the Smokies. From here we drove to our Bed and Breakfast in Cosby, TN. If you ever find yourself in the area and looking for a place to stay, please let me suggest the Creekwalk Inn at Whisperwood Farm. Janice runs the place and is just a wonderful woman with great stories, a kind heart, and great hiking recommendations. We took one of her recommendations on an amazing hike I'll show you in my next blog post. Until then, have a fantastic night!