After breakfast we headed off to the Great Smoky Mountains. 9 million people visit the Mountains each year and usually the road is bumper to bumper cars! Route 441 travels North to South from the Tennessee side to the North Carolina side. It has lots of pullout areas to stop and enjoy the view. As it was about 0C we didn't do a lot of walks...we were quite content to enjoy the drive! We stopped at a picnic ground to have a look around. Each area had a car park, table and bar b que. Lovely outlook. As usual, Rob had to check out the water...freezing cold!
Next stop was to view the Chimney Tops at 4700ft.it is named for the chimney like hole through one of the peaks.
We followed New Found Gap road to Mortons Overlook then
to Clingmans Dome Road where we walked to the viewing tower which has a 360 view of the area.
Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smokies at 6643 feet. It was a very uphill walk and warmed us up only to be met with freezing winds at the tower. It was about 0C but I'd hate to think what it was with the wind chill factored in! Robs face says it all!
The dead hemlocks have been killed by an insect, the hemlock wooly adelgid, native to Japan and China. The Fraser firs have been killed by the balsam woolly adelgid but conservation staff are working diligently to eradicate these pests and they have noticed new growth that is not affected by the bugs.
All rugged up against the cold, we walked for about 2 km on the Appalachian Trail. Some people walk the nearly 2200 miles from the start in Maine and finish in Georgia!
Mingus Mill was built in 1886 but they have restored it and it now works. They have demonstrations daily, unfortunately we missed it. They had a pot belly stove going to keep the place warm. You can buy freshly milled whole wheat flour and corn meal.
We then headed to Cherokee and had hot chocolates and coffee before the ride back. We were going to take a loop back but the road was closed for winter so we headed back the way we came. We had missed a short walk to see a waterfall on the ride into the mountains so thought we'd stop as it had stopped raining. It was such a pathetic looking waterfall!
Huge meals again tonight. Have a look at Robs $9.00 appetizer of pulled pork nachos.
He couldn't even finish the meal...none of us could finish our meals. It is sad to see so much go to waste.
So many of the houses here are decorated for Christmas and the B & B is no exception. It has some great decorations!