May 20, 2009

We Meet Kristin and Travis at Clingman's Dome!

We drove over to Clingman's Dome today to meet Kim's daughter, Kristin and her fiance', Travis, who happened to be taking a few days holiday in Gatlinburg during spring break. We agreed to meet in the parking lot for the dome. Having to travel the longest distance, they were waiting when we got there, but soon were out of the car gazing into the trunk...where, you guessed it - the battery on the Saturn is located. Dead of course, 5 years old and having powered the radio and headlights for over a half hour (without the engine running). Oh well, a quick jump from the Dodge's heavy batteries and a charge and it's ready when we return!

So, now where were we?

Oh, yes, the hike to the top of Clingman's to enjoy those spectacular views. And as we started up the half-mile path, the stunning view back towards Fontana Lake (way in the distance) proved we had hit the mountain on one of its clearer days!
Up and up we go, but the cool weather and nice breeze make for less effort. We stop occasionally to admire the scenes to our left. Now you couldn't possibly tell these two are mother - daughter? (if not, get your eyes examined!)

Near the top we marvel at the amount of dead trees along the path, wondering what quirk of nature (or man) has caused all the destruction?

Perhaps the acid rain that the Smokies are known for???
What do you think?

We round a final bend and walah! There it is, the spaceship looking pinnacle that was erected fifty years ago on the highest point of the Appalachian Trail.
We spent about twenty minutes on the platform, enough time to enjoy the incredible views that span four states!
Our timing for the journey down was perfect, arriving back at the base just before a large neon-clad school group takes to the top!

We decided to drive back southward to the Smokey's Park entrance, where an old farm has been re-created by the Park Service as a museum of the past. The historic looking structure stood in elegant contrast to the beautiful green pasture behind. I enjoyed sitting by the freshly plowed garden, the smell of new dirt in the air!

Kristin found the likes of an old friend; Peepers - the rooster she had as a pet when she was a young girl. Great we got the chance to meet here in the mountains! Perhaps again next year?