Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Great Smokies

Since the end of June was the last week for Priya's stint @ RJR in Winston Salem, I took a trip to the gateway to the south :). While there, we both visited the Great Smoky mountains. We entered the park from North Carolina side through the Cherokee Indian village. The Smokies traverse NC and TN states. The Clingman's dome in the park is the highest point in Tennessee (6,643 feet Duh! ;)). From the dome, we saw the beautiful Appalachian ranges. It was very similar to watching the Sierra Nevada ranges from the Morro Rock. The tallest waterfalls, Mingo falls, in the park is a short walk from the visitor center. We enjoyed the walk and spent a lot of time near the waterfalls. To signify that we are in the south, we saw a lot of confederate flags and graffittis that claimed CSA (Confederate States of America) will raise again. These things were a little scary but the people whome we met on the way were generally friendly. That evening we stayed in Gatlinburg, TN. This is a small German town which may be the most decadent city in the south :). No just kidding! There were lots and lots and lots of people. There were sky lifts, all the friggin' chain restaurants and even a Ripley's believe it or not. It was more like the Jellystone national park with Yogi the bear and what not. Personally, I despised the place especially because it was polluting the proximity of a national park and because I found the city occupied by a bunch of jerks who wont smile. May be people get sued if they change their firm countenance. Now to the good part. Inspite of the heavily crowded outskirts, thankfully, I mean from the bottom of my heart, we didnt see many of them inside the park. A 5 min walk into the trail and we already lost them. The next morning, we hiked the Grotto falls. It is a fairly easy 1.5 mile hike. The waterfall was not magnificent but was pretty pretty pretty... We walked behind the falls which reminded me of our trips to Hogenakkal, a kick ass water falls in the border of Tamilnadu and Karnataka. We went in and out of the Grotto falls a gazzillion times and got drenched. The hike up was not eventless. We saw a huge mama bear with her 2 adorable cubs right on our trail. At that time survival was up on our minds more than photographing the bear family. Thankfully, sanity prevailed among the bears that the mom led the cubs back in to the woods.

For the detailed photo essay, please check my yahoo pages and make sure you set the slideshow speed to slow.

sai n' priya

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