We had a lazy morning and set out quite late. I had wanted to go to Cades Cove since we first visited the Smokies – so we decided to go there and set out for a walk from there up to Gregory Bald. We stopped at the visitor centre for a little light shopping and fact finding – then set off on the ONE WAY – DEAD END loop road through Cades Cove. Once you were on it – there was one escape road which cut through to the other side of the loop.
The atmosphere in the car was still peaceful and happy when we stopped to look at this log cabin.
Proper snake rail fencing!
And a happy woman skipping back to the car without a care in the world!
We then got back into the car and joined a queue of cars crawling along the road. Every so often we came to a dead stop when someone at the front of the queue saw a particularly fascinating blade of grass – or a leaf fell from a tree – and then the procession would chug along a little further. It was a bit like being in a funeral cortege – but one where the undertaker was screaming at the mourners. Phil was not happy.
We eventually got to the end of the valley – where several other buildings had been re-erected – I am not sure what had been there originally.
The watermill was working and grinding corn – to see the hard work it took just to get the water to the wheel certainly made me respect the early settlers.
We drove up to the start of the Gregory Ridge trail, after being told that the loop to Cades Cove was locked up at 19:00 hours.
It was quite a contrast between the nose to tail procession along the loop road and the peace and quiet of the trail. The pictures speak for themselves!
Because we had been told we needed to be out of Cades Cove by 19:00 – we didn’t get to the top – just to this view of the wooded hills opposite. As we headed back down we were a little concerned to see this sign telling us we couldn’t get out! We ignored it and carried on.
Got back to the Cove – and found out that we had Been Lied To!! Loads of cars still in the car park – and the rural representation of the M25 in rush hour was in full swing. We edged our way out of the cove watching the petrol tank getting closer and closer to empty – and with Phil giving a good impression of someone close to a mental breakdown.
We eventually got out of the cove with about a cupful of petrol and found a petrol station at the bottom of the hill – which promptly refused our credit card. Luckily I had one twenty dollar bill left – so we weren’t stranded. We drove back over the mountain road – and stopped to look at the view of Gatlinburg from the heights.