It’s happened to me before, so no surprises here. I map it out, select a route, circle the stop points on a map, lay out expected times at each location and then set out. But then something comes up and there go the plans.
This past weekend, I aimed my GPS toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which straddles Tennessee and North Carolina. My plan, laid out on paper (complete with red circles and yellow highlight arrows of my own doing), was to enter at 6AM from the Gatlinburg, Tennessee side and proceed straight off to Cades Cove for the eleven mile loop road trek and maybe the occasional pull over to grab a photo or two, then on to Roaring Fork for a hike to the Grotto Falls. From there, I’d wind my way down the Newfound Gap to Clingman’s Dome for a bit more hiking and photo-taking, and then out of the park via Cherokee, North Carolina. The plan…
As I entered the park, I drove by a sign saying that the Cades Cove loop road was closed due to the fact that it was Saturday and everybody knows what happens on Saturday. Everybody but me. I continued along toward the Cove… and to my great disappointment, I saw that sign was, in fact, correct. No motor vehicles allowed. The time was reserved for hikers and bicyclists.
Without proper planning (i.e., no wool socks, only one small bottle of water), I set out for a wonderful, tranquil walk along the Cades Cove road. Eleven miles. And now, nearly that number of blisters.
Look for photos and commentary from Cades Cove to follow. All taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and kit Olympus 12-40 lens.