The park has a number of these pull offs at key locations for photo’s and trails.
Our first stop in the park was at a visitor center. The park ranger told us there were two paths in the park that dogs were allowed on the trail. One of those dog trails was from that visitor center. Our dog had a ball as you can tell. (people warning, TICKS)
We have had fellow bloggers tell us we have to make the Cades Cove in the short time we would be in the area. Cades Cove area is rich in history however the main attraction is the wildlife available on an easy driving tour. This is an 11 mile one way drive and the park service suggest you plan 2-4 hours. I was really having difficulty understanding how 11 miles could take even 2 hours but ok I planned for the two hours. In hind sight 4 or more hours is a better estimate.
We had been told as we drive through the park, if we see cars stopped in the road, there is either bear or deer close. In addition there were plenty of places to pull over to take photos of the mountains and grass lands.
I was taking this photo of the mountains and clouds when my wife asked if I was photographing the turkey ? Turkey, what turkey? Do you see the turkey in the photo. Hint it is at the tree line on the right side.
Ok our next stop with another 4 or so cars was a baby bear. By the time we left the bear could not be seen any more and there were maybe 20+ cars and more arriving.
He is in the center of the photo. You can see a hint of black and if you can pinch and expand the image you might see an ear. He was clearly hiding till mom returned.
Now the next bear had 40 or so cars (trucks….) and multiple rangers directing traffic. You were not being allowed to stop on the road or have any of your auto hang over the road as this was narrow. Great I have a 4X4 dually and could pull off in a mud field on a slope where small cars could not go. One ranger even complemented me parking the big truck and not interfering with traffic.
Ok first photo do you see the bear. Hint he is in the tree. And center in the photo.
I could see through the lens that he was moving his eyes watching all the commotion on the road.
Other scenic shots
Part way through the 11 mile loop was a reconstructed early mountain community. The earliest Europeans began settling the area in 1818 with a population of 271 by 1830. To survive they had to form communities with specializations in each community such as black smith, mills….
This community was open to walk the grounds and not only did you see how they lived but got a good feel for the size of one of these communities.
This mill is still in operation. The person is not a statue but runs this water wheel mill and sells the flours along with giving demonstrations.
Every building we went to had park signs warning of snakes as these are old wood buildings with hiding places snakes like.
Ok can you see the snake. (bottom left before you go through the door).
The main building and park store to buy stuff.
Getting to and from the area we had caves of which we lost count in our different drives in the park. We noticed that on one side of the cave the height might be 12 feet but coming from the other way the height might be 13 ft. 4 inch. Take a look and you can almost see the difference (although this is a larger cave in general).
There are horse tours offered also.
More to come in next post.