For the last three years, we’ve made it a bit of a tradition to visit the Smoky Mountains in either the Spring or early fall and do as many day hikes as we can fit in. Early this year, we planned a September visit to the mountains, not knowing then that I would be six months pregnant at the scheduled time. And still we made the drive down this past weekend, though our plan to repeat our yearly climb to the top of Mount LeConte (a steep 11 mile round trip) had to be given up. Instead, we explored some new areas of the park, including the (short but steep) trail to Baskins Falls, Cade’s Cove, Abram’s Falls, and a short jaunt on the Appalachian trail that gradually brought us up to a beautiful view of mountain range after mountain range.
Sadly, I don’t have many pictures to show for this trip given a horrible fit of absent minded packing in which I managed to bring my camera with the battery run down and to leave the charger at home. I nursed the waning battery life through the first two hikes, trying to be very selective and cautious with picture taking. It felt a little like going back to having a film camera–but without a counter ticking down how many photos were left.
Here, then, follow a few of the “big picture” highlights that I captured on my camera before the battery died.
Even if I had been able to snap my usual large collection of shots, I’m not sure how much they would do at conveying the far-sighted quiet and solitude at the top of the Jump Off trail, where I heard a bird’s wings whir as it flew past, or our childlike enjoyment of scrambling up next to Baskin’s Falls and finding two salamanders blinking in the spray of the water, or the serene beauty of the golden wild flower fields that stretch through Cade’s Cove before dark green mountains just beginning to be touched with reds and oranges. The Smokey Mountain area is gorgeous–I’m glad to have been able to spend a couple days walking about in them, camera or no.