Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Smokkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkies 2nd edition!


As hinted before, here's the post on our weekend trip to Smokies. We hadn't had a chance to go anywhere special this autumn. Yes we did go to Corbin at the start of autumn, but it wasn't the full colour spectacle that we were expecting. We had been to Smokies last year, but that was in summer, so we thought why not see the autumn version? Though the trip format wasn't exactly like last time, the agenda was basically to visit the Smoky Mountains :).

27th October 2006:

On Friday, we wrapped up our respective work and set off in a rented Ford Taurus. The plan was to drive to Johnson City, Tennessee, which was about 4 hours away and then rest for the night there. The trees and the colours were wonderful and though I wanted to take snaps, I didn't. The snaps taken while driving come out hazy, the factors being the car window in between, plus the movement. We had previously marked an North-Indian restaurant in Johnson City for our dinner called Sahib. So as soon as we reached there, we went straight to the restaurant and had dinner. Though there was a hugggggge party crowd there, the food was served pretty quick and it was all very tasty. Tired from the drive and full of food, we went and immediately crashed in the lodge.

28th October 2006:

Saturday early morning, we had Subway sandwiches for breakfast and set off. The plan was to drive onto a scenic highway called the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive to Asheville, North Carolina, obviously stopping in-between for the various sights :). The Blue Ridge Parkway starts in West Virginia and extends all the way to North Carolina. And it can be visited anytime in the year, but autumn is when you can see the most picturesque scenery at every point on the road. We didn't actually go to West Virginia, but joined the road somewhere in Tennessee.

As soon as we entered the road, we couldn't help but gasp at the beautiful sights surrounding us. We couldn't help stopping now and then either. The weather was cloudy and freezing, yet that couldn't bring down our spirits.






Again stopped at another outlook:




Again at another (:-D):




Later we stopped and saw the Linn Cove Viaduct. It seems they had to build a road at an elevation of 4,100 feet without damaging one of the world's oldest mountains. The link shows the struggles they faced and how they built the viaduct :).





Next we planned to see a place called Grandfather mountain which has a hanging bridge, but when we were at the entry point, we found that the hanging bridge was closed due to high winds :(. So we moved on and later stopped at another mile post of the parkway to see the Linville falls. The falls were not easily accessible and so we had to trek in the cold weather. We wore our jackets, gloves and were off :).

We first went to a point which is called the Chimney view of the falls. We had to hike about 1 mile for it, but the view was worth it :).




Next we walked another 0.5 miles to see the Ervin's View point. The view here was even more beautiful what with the falls and the autumn colours seen together :).




After seeing both the views we walked back near to the falls to see it up, close and personal :). We couldn't see the lower falls as it was covered by the hill, but only the upper falls and thats what the view is called too :).






We were both pretty tired after the trek (total almost 3 miles!) and soon we set off again. We couldn't resist stopping at some points on the road now and then, to take some snaps :).






The colours, as you can see, were breathtaking :).

Next we stopped at another outlook to view Glassmine falls. There is no actualy way to trek to the falls because its on a different hill. But its a great view :).




Slowly the elevation of the road was rising and it was getting colder and colder. That was when we encountered the Greybeard mountain.




Seeing the trees, we thought the colour of the branched were grey and hence the name. It was only when we stopped and looked properly that we came to know that, it was ice!! It was so cold that water had gotten frozen at the tips of the branches and hence the colour!!




I think this is one of my best photos :). We soon stopped at Asheville, NC for our motel for the day. We actually planned to drive to another Indian restaurant, but literally crashed and fell asleep and missed dinner! Guess we were very tired..

29th October 2006:

Sunday early morning, after a healthy breakfast of waffles and sandwiches (we needed it after the fast :-p), we were back again on the blue ridge parkway and snapping away photos :).




Thankfully, the day was bright and sunny. Though it was cold, the sunlight helped :). Our main stop for the day was the Graveyard Field falls. The area got it's name years ago from the tree stumps and surrounding trees that look like grave stones in a graveyard setting. We trekked first to the lower falls which is about 0.5 miles.




The falls were not very full, but pretty nevertheless. There was also another falls in the same place called Upper falls, and since it was supposedly only 1.5 miles trek, we decided to go for it too. We walked and walked, got tired but still did not reach the upper falls. After about what seemed like more than 1 mile, we gave up and headed back. We still had a long way to cover and we couldn't afford the time :(. Well, there's always another time...

Back on the Blue ridge parkway, we reached the highest elevation point of the road. Its 6053 feet above sea level and it felt good to be there :).




We drove on until the parkway ended at Cherokee, North Carolina. We had been to Cherokee last year on our Smokies trip through a different road. So after reliving some of the memories, having lunch at a pizza place, we headed back in the road that we had taken last year.

Sadly, it looked like autumn had already been to the place and said goodbye, so we couldn't see any colours on that particular stretch. We stopped again at the Tennessee-North Carolina border which is at 5000-odd feet, but I have to admit I was quite disappointed with the view.




Well, maybe we were expecting too much after the wonderful views we had seen all along Blue ridge parkway ;-) :). Anyways the colours certainly got better as we travelled back to Tennessee :).




We stopped later at Pigeon Forge, TN for a game of mini-golf which I am crazy about these days :-D.




We played for over an hour and had loads of fun. There were some children also in front of us and it was also fun watching them take shots :-D.

And then it was time to leave. We had about more than 3 hours of drive back home. We aaraamse reached within about 9 PM in the night, which meant making dinner was my problem. I didn't really mind much because a tomato saaru (rasam) certainly tastes like heaven after 2 days of bland outside food ;-) :-D.

So thats how the story of this trip ends. With a tomato saaru that is :-D. Dunno when we will be able to go out next, what with winter shattering away the remaining warmth with its cold breath and shooing autumn away....

9 Comments:


Thanu retorted...

awesome colors... sounds like u had a wonderful time.


Deeps retorted...

Thanu, yes we did. It was one of the best back-to-nature trips we have ever taken :).


maavinayanasa retorted...

you had wonderful experience. there is no match to nature's scenic beauty. it reminds me of mahabaleshwar and panchagani. the pics of colourful trees has made my day.

how did you enjoy tomato saaru. it is my staple food. not bored to eat daily twice.

have a nice time and enjoy life

gurudeva daya karo deena jane


Deeps retorted...

Srinivasravare, tomato saaru is staple food for my hubby too. He cannot do without a bele item daily :-D. And thanks. It was a wonderful experience :).


Rio retorted...

gorgeous pics!! sounds like an awesome trip :-)


Deeps retorted...

Rio, it sure was :).


Arz000n retorted...

WAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!

Smokies is one helluva place to visit...man I loved those snaps...

know what??
I always dreamed of going to such hills...with lotsa greenaries around...man, that 10th and 11th snap of that beautiful road surrounded by trees so so awesome

you lucky dudette :)
enjoy!!


Hash retorted...

Wow ! I am going there someday . One more thing in my to-do list :) . Enjoy !!


Deeps retorted...

Arjun, dude you are in UK. You'll get the chance to go around Europe. Then I'll be the one envying you ;-).

Hash, yup its worth it. And like you I have my tick-mark list :-D.