May 28, 2000 - Smoky Mountains National Park

North Carolina.

Day 2. Started with a HUGE breakfast at the Moose Cafe, "where the locals eat", on the outskirts of Asheville - across from the Farmers Market. We took Highway 19 through Maggie Valley and Cherokee (tourist trap) before entering the park at the Oconaluftee Vistor Center. After a short rest stop and picking up the 'official map and guide', we drove up Newfound Gap Road to the trail to Clingman's Dome, the highest point in Tennessee.

At 6,643', Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee, and second highest point east of the Mississippi. I'm told that on a clear day, you can see over 100 miles and into seven states. On this particular cloudy day, we couldn't see 100' in any direction.

Click on thumbnails for larger view:
The peak is accessible after driving Clingmans Dome Road from Newfound Gap, and then walking a steep half-mile paved trail.

Cloudy days, precipitation, and cold (50 degrees) temperatures reveal the hostile environment atop Clingmans Dome. Acid rain is also killing the trees.

Debra at the Newfound Gap Parking Area where you get some of the best scenic high mountain vistas in the park.

This spot is significant because Debra was in the exact same place 20 years ago while on a family vacation.

The Appalachian Trail crosses the Newfound Gap parking area.

We decided to hike the two-mile stretch between Newfound and Indian gaps.

Now we can tell people "I walked part of the 2,155-mile-long Appalachian Trail".

We took the Blue Ridge Parkway back to the Asheville area and dinner at the Weaverville Milling Company, off Old U.S. 19 in Weaverville. Set in a century-old mill, the restaurant has fine dining served with down-home style. We sat on back deck and had Rainbow trout de-boned by the waitress at the table. Yummy!

email me: backpackingtexan at yahoo dot kom

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