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  [Little River - Smoky Mountains NP]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
October 20, 2000 through October 23, 2000

Colors, colors, and more awesome colors! The mountains were spectacular with their fall colors. - Luke Langley

I could sum up the Smoky's fall colors trip by saying it was just right, not too soon, and not too late. Great weather too, never got rained on. The perfect long weekend trip. I enjoyed everyone's sense of humor, we did a lot of laughing, great company. The Roy Mercer CD's were a blast (How big a boy are you..?). I still remember laughing to the each and every part of that CD.

Friday - October 20, 2000

[Primitive Baptist Church]

Friday we went through Cades Cove, a great start for the weekend. Our drive through the cove was a traffic jam, though. The only relief that we got was when Luke started jogging next to the road; the traffic would move on. Whenever we were stuck in the traffic we would say - Luke start jogging !!!. During the drive, we saw three black bears, two cubs and the mom. Saw lots of deer too. When I walked into an old church close by, the wedding march was playing, scared the #*&% out of me. Ray said I could've been rope-tied by a Tennessee mountain woman :-(

Saturday - October 21, 2000

[Clingman's Dome]

Saturday we went to the highest point in Tennessee, Clingman's Dome, and started hiking the AT (Appalachian Trail). This was also the highest point on the AT; the AT is 2167 miles long. It was also the state line for TN & NC.



[Group Photo on AT]

The first leg was great, all down hill, but then we had to come back up. The views were great. At one point we were on a ridge and on one side it was sunny, and from the other side the clouds were streaming right across us.



Sunday - October 22, 2000

[Sanjib at Chimney Tops]

Sunday we climbed 1700 feet elevation gain in two miles to get to Chimney Tops where the view was spectacular! To see the colors from up there was awesome. We stayed up on top probably an hour and had lunch while other people came and went.



[Pizza Pyre]

Sunday night, with the nice neighborly fire wood contributions, we had a roaring fire. Some of the fire wood given to us was carried all the way from Ohio, they brought too much.



Monday - October 23, 2000

[Laurel Falls]

Monday we hiked to Laurel Falls, a perfect end to a great weekend. The water level on the falls was very low - it definately didn't look like the trailhead picture. The paved trail was a welcome relief.



[Fall Colors on Laurel Falls Trail]

You know it's a great trip when you have to often stop and take in all in. I was doing this a lot on the trails, water falls, rivers, and road side stops. The sounds of the rivers and water falls were wonderful. And the quietness of the woods was tranquility to the soul.



The local restaurants were an adventure themselves. But we made up for it with the official sanctimonious bonfire pizza pyre sacrifice; the Cherokee's would've been proud. You'd be surprised how long it takes a healthy slice of pizza to cremate.

[Cascade on Chimney Tops Trail]

Animals spotted: bears, deer, owl, snake, wolverine....I mean a mouse, and lots of squirrels and various birds.

The only downside was that Barney Fife told us we could only have 4 tents up, two per camp site, so Sanjib still hasn't been able to use his new tent. That tent probably has more miles on it for having never been used. And of course the predictable people who get up at 5am at a campsite and make enough noise to wake everyone else up, oh well.

Thanks a million to Ray for the trip and having a great attitude!!

Luke Langley
with help from Sanjib Ghosh and Ray Aldridge

 
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