In the Smoky Mountains

Fog in the Smoky Moutains

17th June – 171 miles from Maggie Valley, North Carolina, to Knoxville, Tennessee

In the morning we stocked up with a packed lunch and headed for the Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a wet morning, and we drove in the fog, hoping for the weather to clear.

Me, taking the picture above. Photo by Spencer

We hiked up to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the park, but an easy walk on a paved trail. Visibility at the top was almost non existent, though, and we were practically walking through a cloud.

By the time we finished that walk we needed the heating on in the car to dry out our wet jackets. After another short hike we stopped to eat our picnic at a scenic overlook that was, again, less than scenic in the fog.

A foggy walk in the woods

We left the park at Gatlinburg and were on the brink of giving up on it when the day started to brighten up. We turned around and headed back into the park. The park is quite compact and, although we didn’t have time to tackle Clingman’s dome again, we managed to hit some of the scenic overlooks along the road.

The Smoky Mountains

Accommodation that night was a challenge. We passed through Gatlinburg but the motels were pricey so we only stopped to play crazy golf again. It was a classic example of a highly individual course, set on a hillside and winding through the woods.

Pigeon Forge was a riot of tacky attractions and overpriced motels, so we didn’t stop. Again, I should at least have captured it on film, but time was starting to press on us and we wanted to find somewhere cheap to stay. We ended up in a Motel 6 on the outskirts of Knoxville, where we had a fast food meal. It was a long road trip, and we had to manage our budget carefully and ration our bigger nights out. After Charleston and Maggie Valley we were due a couple of quiet nights.

18th June – 290 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee to Decatur, Alabama

Downtown Chattanooga

From Knoxville we headed west, stopping for lunch in Chattanooga, which had a pleasant riverside. After lunch, we drove up to Lookout Mountain, which overlooks the city and was a key defensive position and site of a battle in the Civil War.

View from Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

After Chattanooga we were back on the road for a long afternoon skirting down into Alabama. Tired and with a slight headache, all I wanted to do was check in to the motel and crash out, so we found accommodation in Decatur, had a quick McDonalds, and called it a night.

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