The Smoky Mountains. Oh, how I wish I could claim them, but they belong to us all. A national park set aside so we wouldn’t forget. A place to step away from electronics, fast food, the glitz and glam, the busyness that is our lives today. This particular Eden is called Cade’s Cove and it is a living museum of a time gone by. It’s a wild place with glorious fields of grass swaying in the breeze -isolated and disconnected, yet near. A million miles away, but right up the road. If you have never been here before I invite you to have a look around with me and enjoy the view.
There is an 11 mile one-way loop road that takes you around the perimeter of the cove with lots of places to pull off and enjoy the vistas before you. There are a couple of crossroads that can shorten the drive and save you from the traffic jams and bear jams. YES, I SAID BEAR JAMS! As the most visited National Park in the U.S. this loop can be bumper to bumper, especially on summer weekends and during the fall color. This is a heartbreaking scene to me because these cubs have already learned that humans = food. I never actually saw these people feed them, but it is obvious that SOMEONE has. No matter how adorable these babies are they are WILD ANIMALS and should be treated with respect! Feeding them can spell disaster for the bears since they will have to be relocated if they become a nuisance around people. Of course, if that doesn’t work and they return to the area you know what the next step is… Wildlife versus humans – wildlife usually loses.
These have to be some of the luckiest horses in the world. There are trails for horseback riding and hayrides for your enjoyment. The other popular activities are hiking and biking. From May through September, sunup to 10 am, the loop is closed to motor vehicles for those people who want to enjoy the park without the distraction of cars ( or motorcycles, UGH, Harley’s -don’t get me started!!!). Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife so go early or come late!
This is the Cable grist mill which must have been vital to the locals for flour, cornmeal, and it was even used to power a saw mill. This article has some great information about this particular farm.
These two cantilever barns are examples of the ingenuity of East Tennesseans for meeting the needs of their livestock, corn, hay, and tobacco. They are found mostly in three counties in our area and were a perfect way to deal with the wet, humid climate by providing shelter to the animals while, at the same time, encouraging circulation to the goods kept inside.
Here are a few of the homesteads that are in the cove.
I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of white tail deer that were moving from the woods to the fields for their evening graze.
“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”