This epic Road Trip of 2013 has many stops in its 10 days, but only 2 that get more than one night’s attention. The first place to get such special treatment is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Why? I had never been there before, it was a vast national park full of hikes calling me forth, and it was right on my path west on I-40.
Unfortunately, it rained the 2 days I was there and I left all my winter coats hanging in the closet when I left DC.
BUT! I drove to Fontana Dam to hike a piece of the fabled Appalachian Trail (the ‘AT’ for the in-the-know).
As it was going to be raining soon, I didn’t venture too far. Also, I just didn’t seem to be ‘feeling’ it. I wasn’t getting that flow of energy from being in Nature that I usually do. It felt more like a slog to beat the clock. So after an hour I re-evaluated and turned back, content with that and ready to explore a different type of activity.
I had to ask myself many times whether that was what I really wanted to do, wanting to make sure I didn’t regret the decision. When you see you’re not realizing your potential, how long does it take to switch course, and what do you do to ensure you’re making the right decision?
I drove to Cherokee, NC to see The Museum of the Cherokee, since I realized I associated the Cherokee Indians with Oklahoma, which wasn’t their native area at all. I learned about the Eastern Band, those that hid in the Smoky Mountains to avoid the Trail of Tears.
I wound my way through the “Tail of the Dragon,” an 11-mile stretch of road in the Park containing a purported 318 turns. Twice.
For some reason, I left feeling a bit unsatisfied. It could have been the rain. So I was glad that the forest gave me one of my favorite things as a farewell: fog.
Maybe I delight in fog so much because it reflects uncertainty, radiates romance, invites mystery… it’s a hard-working meteorological phenomenon! And one I’m sure to get my fill of in Portland…
The other thing the forest left me as a ‘farewell’ was not as much to my liking. I’ll give you a hint: it went ‘bunk-a-chunk-CRUNCH.’ More on that sound in the next post…. stay tuned!
Feel free to leave a comment if you have something to share about the Smokies, love/hate fog, or have an awesome decision-making process- share with TLT!