The perfect day for a hike and tour of Cades Cove! After I packed a picnic lunch, we loaded our walking sticks, knapsack and binoculars, put the top down on the Jeep and headed west on 321. I wanted to take the scenic tour along Laurel Creek Road within the Smokies to the entrance of the 11 mile loop road through Cades Cove instead of the highways. First we got a little gas at $3.58, the lowest so far in Tennessee, then entered the cove. There are pulloffs along the one way narrow road and when there’s a pileup, that means there’s something to see. We came upon a bunch of cars pulled over and discovered they were looking at a bear just at the edge where the forest met a field. Gary got a glimpse as I was getting my telephoto lens on, but then he took off into the woods. (The bear, not Gary)
The first house was the John Oliver cabin built in 1818, the oldest cabin in Cades Cove – very tiny, as you can see.
The primitive Baptist Church was established in 1827 and some of the earliest settlers were buried in its cemetery. I love looking at old gravestones. Here a couple of more interesting ones. Our next stop was the cable mill area with the original grist mill, blacksmith shop, LeQuire cantilever barn, millrace and dam, and sorghum mill. A horse or mule pulled this long pole in a circle pulling the canes through the rollers releasing the juice which was later boiled down in to molasses.
My favorite place that I could have moved right into was the Dan Lawson place built in 1856. It was in a lovely location with unsurpassed views. Can you imagine leveling a house with these 'jacks'? Yet all the homes had piled up rocks under their corners.
Another stop was a parking lot where only I saw these wild turkeys. They were totally unconcerned with me and walked right by. But we were hungry and carried on to the picnic area finding a table near a little stream (along with 150 other people), but we soon found a hiking trail and went or a quiet walk uphill. We did want to hike to the Abrams Falls, but the trail (and many others) was closed due to the huge storms a few weeks ago. They hope to have them open before Memorial Day weekend, but that is in one week, so we’ll have to return.
We arrived home just in time to hear about severe thunderstorms heading our way, so we hurried to get the jeep top up as we heard thunder and saw some lightning approaching over our mountain. It turned out to be more severe north of us, however Dollywood employees returning around 8 pm said they had lost power, trees were down and they even had hail. Dollywood is approximately 5 miles to the east of us, and all we got was a little rain. I am beginning to appreciate our little tucked-away campground that seems to hide from storms. We put our awning in, but most people here didn’t even do that when there were tornado warnings. The sun came out around 8:30, and the mallard boys came round to visit, along with many friends on the feeder. I have been wondering if there were any hummingbirds around here, and just as I voiced my question, one landed on our ‘dead tree’! I had my camera handy, and snapped this photo, and went inside immediately to boil up some syrup. They feast tomorrow.
We have to work tomorrow, but today was pure joy. I think retirement and RVing are the best career choices I have made so far.