After a late arrival and lost luggage coming in from Atlanta on Thursday night, we headed out Friday morning to Bryson City, NC in the western NC Mountains. Had a wonderful B&B called the Folkstone Inn for lots of peace and quiet when we wanted to enjoy some down time. Friday afternoon was quiet with a late arrival at the Inn but Saturday morning we set out to find a few waterfalls.
(Love the water — can’t you tell?). We made the hike to two of them and I took along my cane as my walking stick. The first was about .3 of a mile uphill (of course) and ended for us at a bridge over the tumbling falls. Took pictures of Mike and even 1-2 of me here (Deep Creek)… Then we headed for the next two but only made it to one … The second was a longer hike but on level ground with lots of leaves and some wet spots. Didn’t make the third waterfall on this trip as it was beyond the second one and up the river (uphill) .. After two days of sitting I figured I had done my part for exercise.
On Sunday we headed for the big one! Didn’t quite know it at the time. Clingman’s Dome.
At an elevation of 6,643 feet, the observation tower at Clingmans Dome stands on the park’s highest peak. You can drive up to the trail head and park and then hike the rest of the way. The sign indicated a 1/2 mile to the tower on a paved path … but that day it was covered in snow, ice and slush. Quite a walk for a second day with 7-10% grades and my hip replacement coming up on 5 months. Took my cane along as a walking stick and was glad I did. The way up was slick and the way down slippery.
The observation tower at the top of Clingmans Dome offers sweeping views of the park—when the weather cooperates! On clear days views expand over a 100 miles. Which it didn’t … By the time we got to the observation tower we were among the clouds.
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top.
Monday we had a final breakfast and said our farewells to our hosts then headed back home to Charlotte. Came home to lots to do to make up for a week and a half gone but it was a great break in our routine and a wonderful place to explore and relax.