Saturday, April 28, 2012

Smoky Mountain National Park -- Clingman's Dome

Since we spent much of a family vacation in the Smokies nearly two years ago, we weren't originally planning to visit again.  Nonetheless, it really was right on our way as we were heading east to South Carolina.  Last time, we weren't able to hike Clingman's Dome because the road was closed, so this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

From Maggie Valley we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The views from the parkway were incredible.

The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny & great visibility.  The scenic overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway were spectacular!  It was a steep half-mile hike up to the observation tower that overlooks both North Carolina and Tennessee at Clingman's Dome.  At 6,643 feet, it is the highest point on the Appalachian  Trail, the highest point in Tennessee and the second highest point east of the Mississippi.

Maybe Jake and I will hike the AT together one day.
Jake walked the entire way up the concrete walkway to the top, holding my hand of course.
The sky was clear and we could see all the way to Mt Mitchell 73 miles away.
This is the highest point in Tennessee
So glad that we had a chance to go here.

After braving crowds to find a spot for a picnic lunch (hazards of visiting a beautiful place in perfect weather on the weekend), we began our trek back and stumbled upon a little roadside stand where Steve met some good old country boys who were selling fresh boiled peanuts, totally a southern thing.  Steve still doesn't like them, but boy, the offspring sure do!  Jake & Genna were both yelling for more; I could barely shell them fast enough!  Even Shanan & Alyssa liked them, though probably not quite as much as the littles.

We enjoyed visiting a restored water powered mill while in the park.
When we were here 2 years ago, the girls never got their badges, so we made that right.
Near the visitor center, there is a homestead made up of buildings moved here from other nearby locations.

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