I had just spent 4 days in the Great Smoky Mountains, and Blue Ridge Parkway. I have seen all kinds of beautiful overlooks, waterfalls, and wildlife. Just as the long trek home was getting to me, I came across this beautiful rainbow in my home town. It was most vibrant right at my exit. Thank goodness for Iphones and the semi-decent camera they are equipped with. I now have this image to enjoy and share with others!!!
I had the chance to visit Clingman’s Dome twice this Memorial Day Weekend. On Saturday, with sunshine all through the area, I was disappointed to find the 6643 feet elevated Clingman’s Dome socked in with clouds and fog. Luckily I had one more chance to check it out on Memorial day, only to find some very beautiful, blue skies. The views up here are 360, and incredible. The lookout tower is very cool, an almost spaceship looking tower that stands 45 feet high. Now I can see why this is the top attraction in the Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail to the dome is a half mile one way, paved and fairly steep. The reward is certainly worth it!! Plan for cooler weather as temps on both days were in the mid 60’s on top, while the close by but much lower Pigeon Forge was baking in the low 90’s. The cool air was very refreshing!!
Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, and in Tennessee. It is third in the eastern US, only behind nearby Mt Mitchell, and Mt Craig, both in the Black Mountains of North Carolina. All three peaks are in the 6600 feet range.
I was blessed this weekend at this location!! I saw my first black bear in the wild, as a mother and two cubs were about 20 feet below the trail in some tall brush. I have hiked actively for 4 years and never seen one. It was a special moment and one that will make Clingman’s Dome a special place to be forever.
Clingman’s Dome is also right along the Appalachian Trail and is the starting point for the Mountains To Sea Trail! The road to the trailhead is the 7 mile Clingman’s Dome Rd off of US 441. It is closed from Dec 1 – March 31, while Clingman’s Dome is open year round. This means if you want to see this beauty if February, count on a much longer and surely a steep hike!
While staying at the close by Mt Pisgah Inn, I could not help but take a short drive from the BRP down Highway 276. Looking Glass Falls is one of my favorites and possibly the most accessible waterfall in North Carolina. Named after the 1700 ft monolith known as Looking Glass Rock, Looking Glass Creek falls 65 feet over an impressive rock ledge to form this natural wonder. It’s accessibility, along with it’s beauty and power make it high not only on my list, but many,many others as well. If you go on weekends, prepare for company. This picture was taken on Memorial Day Weekend. How I was able to get a single shot without a person in it is beyond me! Enjoy!
Off on a weekend trip to one of my favorite places on eath, the NC mountains. I have only seen 1 waterfall so far, Mingo Falls. It was absolutely beautiful, but to was late afternoon and the sun was very bright in the pictures. I will leave you with this nice shot of sunset over Cold Mountain. It is close by to where I am staying!
Budweiser Clydesdales in Lewisville NC 2012, a set on Flickr.
Good Monday to all!! Unfortunately there are no waterfall hikes today. However, today, there was a different treat in store for me. I had never seen the Budweiser Clydesdales on anything but TV. Today, thanks to my girlfriend calling me at just the right time, I was able to come face to face with the Budweiser Clydesdales at a farm that is housing them while they tour western NC.
The first thing that struck me was the enormous size of them. In one of my Flickr photos, I have one of them right next to a regular horse. The difference is amazing. They are beautiful animals and so very well groomed just like one would expect. Did I mention the size? They were just huge!! The horses also travel with a Dalmation named Brewer. He was quite a character. Along with Brewer, the horses brought their entire entourage of trainers, groomers, and caretakers. These guys really have it made!! Anyway, thanks for checking the blog, hope you enjoy the photos!
Emma and Wego visit Hanging Rock Waterfalls, a set on Flickr.
A short hike of 2 1/2 miles round trip to see 3 of the 5 named waterfalls at Hanging Rock State Park. It was a perfect morning for the hike. It was also the new puppy Wego’s first hike. It also was no easy task pulling Emma away from Saturday morning cartoons.
The hike was totally fun, a different experience from most of my solo hikes. I really wanted them to see all 5 named waterfalls but the puppy just got pooped out and almost couldn’t walk another step!
Dupont Forest Waterfalls, a set on Flickr.
For your viewing pleasure, here is a collection of photos from the 4 major waterfalls in Dupont Forest. High Falls, Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Hooker Falls are all included. These were all featured in the movies “Last of The Mohicans”, and the more recent “Hunger Games”. Its a great place to hike and see some great falls, one of my favorites for sure!!