Cades Cove

As I write this I’m sitting at a turnout just east of Clingman’s Dome waiting for the sun to set.  We decided to finish both our day and stay in the Great Smoky Mountains at Clingman’s dome partially because we were shut out the last time we attempted to make plans without consulting with Mother Nature.  After fueling up in Pigeon Forge earlier in the afternoon, we headed back to the park and headed straight for Clingman’s dome.

The views to the northeast were terrific, when we arrived and we jumped out of the RV and made a beeline for the observation tower at the top of the dome.  The observation tower never closes, and there is no admission.  I was surprised.  There is a half mile walk to the top and I think it gets steeper every year

No sooner had we made it to the top of the observation tower when large clouds moved in from the west.  Visibility went down to 30’.  We waited for it to break, but it was obvious that conditions were just getting worse.  As we hit the parking lot, it started to rain.  I figured, good, the weather will clear, so we had some crackers cheese and apples while we watched the weather.  Then it started to really rain and hail.  Lightning flashed by, with a second or two delay for the accompanying thunder. We decided that being on the highest point in North Carolina during a summer thunder storm probably wouldn’t be fatal, but c0ommom sense dictated it was probably a good time to leave.

We stopped at the Newfoundland Gap viewing stop, the views are still spectacular and I captured some for posterity.  We were hungry, it was about 7PM and we continued west to the turnout we discovered previously. Ran the generator and heated up some pork rind, rice and peas and a great salad.  Two more hours of driving, no refreshing beverages were on hand, sigh.

Cades Cove is a really nice quiet place to camp.  We were woken at 8:30 AM by the men using leaf blowers to clean the walks fore the camp store.  No generators, no kids scootering up and down the street, no music, just quiet.  We ate breakfast outside, it was a perfect morning, blue skies and one or two puffy clouds.  The clothing from our monumental slog through the downpour had dried; Louise decided to give her old hiking sneakers one more go, so we brought them.

More to Come