Fact: On the last day of a camping trip, all plans for a delicious hot camp breakfast go out the window.
Fact: On the last day of a camping trip, all items that were carefully packed for the trip can be tossed into the cars to be sorted out back at home.
Fact: On the last day of a camping trip (without showers), all Wild Women are exceptionally beautiful and do not need mirrors for confirmation.
Fact: On the last day of a camping trip, stopping by an antique mall on the way home may be necessary.
On this frosty morning the Smokemont rangers told me that Clingmans Dome Road was open again, so we quickly ate, packed up and drove to the high point of the Smokies. The beauty of the day is best conveyed in pictures:
Ready for a steep half-mile climb
Red mountain ash berries encased in ice make the sky look even bluer
Snow on balsam needles
Snow on cow parsnip (I may be making that one up)
Looking southeast towards Fontana
Looking north at Mt LeConte
Looking southwest at Thunderhead and southbound AT
Like a watercolor painting
A special signpost
A little snack before the long drive home
Being in the Great Smoky Mountains always revives and replenishes my spirit. Perhaps the fact that I can’t go there every day is what keeps it special for me. I love this magnificent place any way I can get it, either hiking alone, with backpacking friends in the backcountry, or introducing it to newbies.
“Anybody who says the scenery gets old is not paying attention.” ~ Cecil Rowe, oldest person to complete the Smokies 900 (age 78)