Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cades Cove

We got away from Montgomery Bell about 9 AM Friday morning.  We were pleased with that.  It was late enough to miss most of the morning traffic.  We had a fine ride on I-40 across Tennessee with no major construction zones.  We just sailed right along in light traffic. It was a beautiful drive, too, with the flowering dogwood and redbud blooming.

There were a couple glitches in our trip, however.  The rain started just after we got back on the road from our lunch break.  We had rain, heavy at times, off and on for the rest of the drive, off and on throughout the evening, and over night.  All in all, a lot of rain fell.  Another thing that slowed us down was an incrediably long wait for gas at a Pilot Truck Stop.  Everybody had the same idea we did, I guess--get gas in between rain showers.  The last hold up was near Townsend on the last leg of our trip before entering the National Park.  A recent land slide resulted in only one lane of the road begin open for about a quarter mile stretch.  Everybody got their turn in due time, but the waiting was difficult at that point, begin so close to our destination.
Fungus on a log
We are camped in Cades Cove Campground, one of several campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  This is the first time we’ve camped here since we moved from tents to RVs.  Our 5th wheels were both too large for this park.  This is a typical campground for National Park Service.  The sites are large and wooded.  There are no hook-ups at the sites. There is a central water spigot and a dump station.  Generators may be used, but the hours are restricted.  There are some portions of the campground where generator use is prohibited.  There are no showers in the bath house, not even hot water.

Cades Cove is a large campground with about 150 sites.  Reservations are recommended for summer months.  It’s all about the location.  The campground is at the beginning of the 11-mile loop road which leads into historic Cades Cove.  This is a popular tourist destination partly because of the historical significance of Cades Coves, partly because of the tranquil setting, and partly because it is a great place for spotting wildlife, especially black bears.
A heron we saw as we started our hike this morning
Before the European settlers came to the cove the Cherokee Indians lived here.  Archeologists have not been able to find evidence of a large permanent settlement, so it may have only been a hunting camp.  During the early 1800s Europeans began to settle in the cove and many of the descendants of these original settlers lived here when the National Park was formed.  The Park Service has restored many of the historical buildings in the cove to the way they were in the 1800s and these buildings are open to the public.  There are also three churches (including their cemeteries) and a grist mill in the cove.

We came to hike, of course, and there are several trailheads in the Cades Cove area.  Today’s hike was along the Abrams Falls Trail to Abrams Falls.  Access to the trailhead is near the back of the cove almost to the Visitor Center.  As we drove through the cove, we saw several tom turkeys strutting their stuff.  That was exciting.  We also saw several deer, but no bear.

I am happy to report that Cades Cove Loop Road has been resurfaced.  Boy, did it need repairing last time we were here.  During the summer months, the loop road is closed to motorized vehicles on Saturday and Wednesday mornings until 10 AM to allow joggers and bicyclists to enjoy that 11-mile loop.  Since the summer season hasn’t started yet, we were able to get an early start to the trail.

I think I’m going to stop here and save the hike description for the next post.

So, I guess that’s all for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Love the old buildings around Cades Cove. We were there a few years ago and our grandson(around 9 or 10 at the time)said "you can smell the history." Everytime we tour old building we think of him and what he said.

  2. Gorgeous fungus! Can't wait until we get there...hope the rain slows up a bit though. I'll keep you posted of our whereabouts and if you're still there we'll drop by Cades Cove Campground for a chat!

  3. Very unique looking fungus! I bet you guys enjoyed watching the turkeys strut their stuff! Hope the weather is really nice Saturday for you!

  4. interesting lookin Fungus!!..gobble gobble..Turkey dinner for Easter?