Sunday, October 21, 2012

Clingmans Dome sunrise

It's that time of year - the leaves are changing, the nights are turning cold, and the Smokies are as beautiful as ever.  Today we drove out before dawn (it was about 30 degrees and very windy in the higher elevations) to catch sunrise at Clingmans Dome.  Us, and a bunch of other people!  The mountains are *packed*; there are tons of "No Vacancy" signs in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg; traffic is a nightmare; people are everywhere like ants.  But if you can fight your way through the madness, you will be rewarded with some exceptional sights.  Here are just some of the 125 pics I took today:

We blazed up the Clingmans Dome trail to beat the sunrise - felt like Dracula racing against the light, and we made it onto the tower about 2 minutes before the sun peeked over the horizon. Then we hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, then headed over to the Shot Beech Ridge Quiet Walkway & followed that out the ridge as far as we could. We finished up with a loop around the Courthouse Rock lower trails.

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