While I am more than a week past my days (and cold nights) in Tennessee, I have enough great photos to bring all of my memories of the Great Smokies back. I camped & hiked in the area of Cades Cove where you can explore historic cabins, churches and a grist mill; see white-tailed deer, turkeys and black bears (I saw 5!); and enjoy the gorgeous mountain scenery. You can supposedly take a leisurely bicycle ride around the scenic 11-mile loop road, too but I found that to be impossible during peak leaf peeping season.
Before the park was created, Cherokee Indians then European settlers lived in this valley as early as 1820. The first large piece of land purchased in 1927 for the park included most of the land in the mountains north of the Cove. Yet, some residents signed life-leases that allowed them to live on their land for the rest of their lives, with the last school closing in '44, and the post office in '47.
So, who is Ann Davis? She's credited with suggesting a National Park in the Smokies when she and her husband returned from a trip visiting several Western national parks in 1923. Money to buy the land was raised by individuals, private groups, and even school kids who pledged their pennies. In addition, the Rockefellers donated $5 million to create the park.
Up next, a brief stop in Asheville, NC.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover