This short visit to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was part of a two week road trip we took in the fall of 2010. We had driven a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to the North Carolina/Tennessee border to the Clingman’s Dome observation deck. From my research prior to the trip, I learned Clingman’s Dome was the highest point in the park (and the highest point in Tennessee!) and would give a vantage point of The Smokies like you’ve seen in National Geographic. I wanted the National Geographic viewpoint! :)
What happened, though, is that the Smoky Mountains are not called “Smoky” for nothing. At the NC/TN border area called Newfound Gap we were already experiencing light drizzle and fog, but our visibility was still pretty good!
From Newfound Gap, Clingman’s Dome Road is a 7 mile drive and then a very, I repeat very, steep half mile walk to the observation deck. I was in really bad shape at the time so the steep hike was particularly exhausting for me. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.
But because I felt exhausted, out of shape, and nervous that the rain and fog would ruin our view from the observation deck, cranky Jana came out. Let’s be honest, not every moment of every trip is going to be rainbows and sunshine, but when I start acting cranky, I’m horrible to be around. How does Trae stand this you ask? Oh, he just makes fun of me the whole time.
Instead of taking pictures to document the treck, he took videos. This is way before we started filming our trips so I was just annoyed at him! Here are some great low quality screen caps to show you the steep trail (if you’d like to see the embarrassing video from this it’s here.):
When we made it to the base of the observation deck I was positive our view would be completely fogged over, which a couple walking down confirmed by telling us “you missed the best views by 10 mintues!” I wanted to strangle them.
But hey, mother nature has a way of doing nice things for an exhausted, cranky, & picky photographer: the fog cleared as we sat there defeated and we were given a few minutes of a beautiful view!
So it all turned out fine and cranky Jana disappeared. My advice to give from our experience: visit Clingman’s Dome earlier in the day if you can!
P.S. I hesitated sharing that I was in a bad mood during this adventure because a) I’m annoyed at myself that I was that way and b) I want to keep the content on this blog positive. But I also want to keep things honest, and I felt that my mood affected our experience and thus it needed to be mentioned. It is way too easy to make everything online seem perfect and happy all the time, and there is enough of that out there already!
Next up on our fall favorites series: Central Park!
More from this road trip:
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