Apparently I started to write this (day 1 was written then), but then took a six month hiatus, so though I can track what we did based on pictures, I don’t recall exactly what the rationale was for doing the various things on various days. So, for some reason which I now longer recall, we decided to do Rainbow Falls Friday morning. We had hiked this two trips and three years prior. I remembered it having some nice views along the river in the first portion and it’s one of the taller (maybe tallest) falls in the park. I was also fatter, so I remember it being more challenging.
The trail was markedly different his time on account of the fire that burned some 10,000 acres of the park and Gatlinburg six months earlier. Apparently, due to winds at the time, the fire spread pretty quickly, but also was not able to fully burn down much of the forest. As a result, the underbrush was mostly missing and the windward side of the larger trees were heavily scorched, but they were mostly still standing and still had canopy up top. The falls area itself appeared to be untouched by the fire.
In the standard hiking goal of spotting wildlife, we found many salamanders in the pools just below the falls… so that’s what you get pictures of – salamanders.
For the afternoon, we took what was possibly our first visit to a commercial venue and went to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. As aquariums go, it was pretty good, but I think Chicago’s Shedd has it beat. It did have a ray touching pool though.
I like trying to get pictures, but of course in limited light, through glass and of moving objects, very few tend to turn out worth much.