Sunday, October 26, 2014

On Top of Old Smoky, for Real : Postcards from the Road

Dear friends, I am sitting at the dinette in Cloud Nine, the windows open, a cool breeze touching my skin, the rich aroma of coffee filling the space around me. 

It has been a magical week in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, the artistry of the Creator in fine form. We’ve seen morning temperatures in the 30’s and put the quilts I keep on board to good use. But it doesn’t take long for the sun to warm the earth, leaving us with perfect October days in which to forage about.

Since we tend to travel by the seat of our pants, we don’t often make reservations ahead of time. This can be a curse yet we’ve always managed to make it work, and such was the case here. The first three days of our stay in Pigeon Forge found us at our long-time favorite KOA campground, but then we had to move, and I think it was a blessing in disguise. We found a park that we’ve passed many times in our years of returning here, positioned in the foothills, with a mountain side for a backdrop. It has quickly become our new favorite place.

See that cabin behind us? 

On Tuesday, I told The Man, "Let's go find that cabin."

And so we did, winding our way up narrow, shady roads, through hues of orange and crimson and yellow and gold.

If you ever come to the Great Smoky Mountains, you must set aside a few days for exploring, no matter your age. There's so much beauty to behold and it would be a shame not to see it. 

On Thursday, The Man and I headed out for a day of adventure, to see what we could see and do what we could do in "them thar hills." Our first stop was Newfound Gap, a mountain pass situated on the Tennessee/North Carolina state lines. A kind tourist offered to take our photo.

Newfound Gap is a popular stopping point and the parking lot was overflowing on this day.

The seven-mile drive from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome is quite curvy and, on a brilliant autumn day, crowded with like-minded folks. The closer you get to the top, the slower the traffic moves.

But the drive is well worth it. Once we parked, we decided to hike the half-mile trek to the summit. Between The Man’s Achilles heel issue, and my bad knees, we were a couple of pokey people, but we had plenty of fellow-pokies, of all ages, to keep us company along the way. There are benches every few feet, for pacing yourself, and we put those to good use. At one point, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but I had no thought of turning back.

Clingmans Dome, is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains, the highest point in Tennessee, the highest point along the Appalachian Trail, and the third highest summit east of the Mississippi River—6,643 feet above sea level. 

The reward is well worth the journey, the views from the observation platform are nothing short of spectacular! And when the conditions are just right (which isn’t often) you can see 100 miles and beyond. If you want to know how it feels to be "on top of old Smoky," it feels invigorating! 

On the downhill hike, I stopped and took a zoomed shot of the distant slopes, all adorned in autumn's glory. I thought of the Scripture that says: "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." 

Well, dear friends, I hope I'm not boring you too much with my postcards from the road; for every one I post, there are dozens that I don't, as a little restraint is always in order. 

Until next time, thanks for keeping me company here and for sharing this journey with me.



  1. Catching my breath. OH! Your postcards were a fabulous way to start off the new week! Thanks, Dayle!

    Hugs and happy highways from Hawai'i,

  2. Oh my!
    Such beautiful, beautuful photos my friend!
    Thank you for sharing and have a great time!

  3. One of my favorite places in the world. I remember my first trip there, back in the 1950s with my grandparents. Back then we saw lots of black bears along the side of the road. Thanks so much for sharing these with us. xo Laura

  4. It doesn't get much better than this.

  5. oh, WOW! so worth the effort to reach the top!
    What a mighty Creator-God we serve!!

  6. The mountains in autumn . . . wish I were there with you and the other million lucky ones!

  7. Well, you certainly aren't boring me! I love to travel along with you and see (second hand) what you are experiencing. Tell me though, do you trailer a car behind Cloud 9? I hope that we are able to travel and follow Fall South in a year or so after MyHero retires. xo Diana

  8. Ok, on my bucket list - go to smokey mountains. Everything looks breathtaking Dayle and the pics of you and the man - beautiful. My favorite, the one Fall color mountains. I can imagine how invigorating it must feel to stand in the middle of and on top of all that beauty. Happy exploring to both of you.

  9. It,s beautiful, isn't it? We saw a woodchuck one year on that road. That's what the kids remembered the most besides nearly freezing when we got to the top. ;).

  10. Please, please never think you are boring us!!!! Such breathtaking beauty needs to be shared and enjoyed by all. I only hope one day I can do a major road trip. Please share the Master's finest works!!!!
    Be safe and have a wonderful time.

  11. I remember trips to the Smoky Mountains as a kid!! Suc a beautiful place. Enjoy your time!

  12. I love your adventures, and your photos are always so beautiful, Dayle. Do you know that you have inspired some very serious "talk" about buying a motor home? Yes, my husband and I have always enjoyed tent camping, but old bones are protesting more and more. Tell you what, if we ever buy one, I am adding the Smoky Mountains to our itinerary. Just beautiful.


  13. I was shaking my head yes as I was reading your post. I have been to the top od Clingman's Dome and it is QUITE a trek up that hill!! I do remember the views being phenomenal as well. Your photos are surely breathtaking and it sounds like you are having quite the time! There is nothing like the mountains, especially in the fall!

  14. Well Dayle, those were gorgeous photos. What a lovely trip you are having. Proves that God's gifts are, indeed, very great. Susan

  15. Thank you for sharing pictures of your trip. This is a wonderful time to go on one and see Gods beauty.

  16. Boring us? Oh, no - I could have looked at 20 more of these photos! The pictures from the summit are breathtaking! You are convincing me that I need to visit this part of the country someday - in autumn!

  17. As you can tell, we aren't bored!
    Your words and the beautiful pictures are so enthralling!


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle