Sunday, May 17, 2015

GREAT SMOKYS - THREE


I had decided to stay a few extra days as this was an opportunity to do some more exploring of the park, and perhaps get in a couple of hikes.

After being dropped off at the Knoxville airport, I picked up a car and returned to the Park. As I knew that the weekend crowds would be coming the next day I returned to Cades Cove first. There are a lot of people who come to the Cove area to enjoy the landscapes, but also to view wildlife as it is a well known area for that.

CADES COVE MEADOW
 Almost immediately I was caught up in a “bear jam”. I was probably a good half a mile from the sighting and could not move as the road is a single lane one way. Finally there was a bit of a let up as the bears were quite a distance away. Then I saw one which was a possible photo op in a grassy area, in good light, and not too far away. I was able to safely park off road and then start photography. This was a single bear who was a good size, and was not really fazed by the cars or the people. 



 
 After about half an hour photographing it, I continued on to find a place for a breakfast/lunch picnic and a hike. I headed for Abram’s Falls. After scrounging a spoon from fellow hikers I was able to have some granola and yogurt with a banana. Then I hit the trail for the Falls which was basically downhill, and about two miles away. It was well worth the effort and really was not difficult.  Of course it was uphill on the return trip.
 
ABRAMS FALLS 1

ABRAM FALLS 2

ABRAM FALLS 3

ABRAM FALLS WITH A VISITOR


Not only was the Falls beautiful and fun to photograph but I also saw a couple more new plants: Bleeding Hearts, Star Chickweed, Sweetshrub, Thyme-leaved Bluets, and Fringed Polygala.

FRINGED POLYGALA

STAR CHICKWEED

SWEETSHRUB

BLEEDING HEARTS

THYME-LEAVED BLUETS

 I called it a day after the return from the hike to the Falls. I had been going hard for five days and needed to catch my breath and do laundry, etc.

On Saturday morning I slept in, ate breakfast at the Motel, and did my laundry. In the afternoon I retraced my steps to the Sugarland Visitor Center where I got some help identifying a couple of plants. Then I returned to the Ogle's Cabin area for some more exploration of the nature trail there. I found a few more flowers to photograph, an old grist mill, and the Yellow Lady’s Slipper which is more elusive than the Pink.

SPRING GREEN

COLUMBINE





GRIST MILL 1

GRIST MILL 2

PINK LADY'S SLIPPER TRIO

YELLOW LADY'S SLIPPER

I returned to Morton’s Overlook for sunset.

SUNSET, MORTON'S OVERLOOK

3 comments:

  1. Nice that you got to stay longer and continue to explore the park. Plus the bear. It's been decades since I was in the Smokys.

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