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Old 12-15-2017, 05:38 PM   #80
OLChemist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe's Dad View Post
...Beautiful area, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains.
'Tis, 'tis. Thirty years ago, I did my undergrad work just over the mountains in a little town outside Knoxville. Fell in love with the area.

Second Thanksgiving I was there, my cousin and I rented a car, since neither of us had one. We went up over 441 through Newfound Gap into Cherokee. We hit about 100 ft of ice at the peak just on the TN side of the pass. My friend was from LA, she had never driven on ice and I wasn't old enough to drive the rental (and hadn't driven on ice much either). We kept sliding down the mountain, toward the guard rail (and a really nice several hundred foot drop). We finally crept over, with two wheels on the graveled shoulder about 6 inches from the guardrail.

Being sensible young ladies we decided to go back a different way. A much lower altitude way. With no maps -- in the pre-GPS days -- we drove all over hills and hollows, trying to stay below the snow line. We stumbled on Mingo Falls during that trip and ate a picnic lunch, of cold biscuits from the school cafeteria, at the trailhead. The falls were magical.

In all my trips to Arrowmont, I've only gotten back across the mountains to Cherokee once. It's so dang crowded during the summer you spend all your time in the mountains watching the bumper to bumper traffic :( This summer people in Gatlinburg told me that visitors to the city and the park were down because of the fires last year. Could have fooled me.
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