Smoky Mountains 2017 Day 5 – Sunrise and Travel

Most of the last day is taken with the drive home, but we did get up early and go catch sunrise from a new spot.  This time, just after (heading to Tenessee) the Newfound Gap Overlook.  Since we didn’t do much Sunday, I’ll use this post as a wrap up.

Wednesday night – drive to Gatlinburg

Thursday – hike Huskey Gap Trail, early night, no sunset

Friday – hike Rainbow Falls, Aquarium in the afternoon, dinner at Smoky Mountain Brewery

Saturday – hike Mt. Cammerer, Sunset Photography

Sunday – sunrise photography, hike Grotto Falls, hike Laurel Falls, Cades Cove

Monday – sunrise photography, return trip

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Smoky Mountains 2017 Day 4 – Grotto Falls, Laurel Falls, Cade’s Cove

Mill

We started early on Saturday and went up to Clingman’s dome for a chilly (as expected) sunrise.

After that, we headed over to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail to the Grotto Falls trail head.  It’s a moderate hike and climb at 2.6 miles round trip with 585 ft of elevation.  We had been there once before on the first trip to the Smokies and were not able to visit on the second due to the Motor Trail being closed that time.  Grotto falls is a neat one in that you can walk behind the falls.  With a little bit of scrambling into the river below, you can also get a pretty well aligned shot of the falls.

The second stop was at Laurel Falls en route to Cades Cove.  Laurel is an easy hike, 1.15 miles, all paved (somewhat poorly in places) to a more pour-over type falls.  There’s also the option to scramble around a bit at the falls to get down to the second level and again out into the river a bit.

This trip up was special – we found a black bear cub just before the top of the trail.  It was down over the steep edge of the trail, so it was hard to see and hard to get pictures of. Continue reading

Smoky Mountains 2015 – Day 4

Falls

Smoky Mountains Day 4 itinerary:

  • 6:30 – got to Cades Cove (sunrise)
  • Drove two loops around Cades Cove
  • Started hiking Middle-Prong trail
  • Turned back due to rain
  • Stopped at “The Sinks”
  • Returned to hotel – nap
  • 4:30 – Chimney’s Trail
  • 7:00 – return to trailhead
  • Bear sighting
  • Drove through Gatlinburg
  • Geocaching and dinner in G-burg

It was rumored that Cades Cove was the best place to go for sunrise, so we figured we’d best to that at least one morning.  Cades Cove is 45 minutes to an hour from the entrance to the park (disregarding the campground next to the cove).  There had been a storm the night before, and we did find one tree down along the way.  Fortunately it didn’t block enough of the road and shoulder to prevent the Subaru from getting through.  We got to Cades Cove before the gate opened, so as early as we could.  I think we were car #3 in line.

I expected to be in search of a new view for sunrise and wildlife, but I think that was a misconception, at least with regards to the sunrise.  Maybe thanks to the storm the night before, the entire area was blanketed in fog.  This yielded a different kind of photography opportunity.  It did limit the likelihood of seeing much wildlife as on our first pass around the loop, we couldn’t see more than 100 yards or so from the road. Continue reading

Spider Web

Spider Web

A spider web, on a fence, by a restroom, that was open at 7AM…  I was trying to keep the background in focus, thus the f/18, but apparently that wasn’t going to get quite enough DOF.  Calculator says I only had about 3″ of depth behind the web, so any angle on the fence log there was going to take it out of range.

Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 59mm, 1 sec, f/18, ISO 100

Cable Grist Mill

Cable Grist Mill

The historic Cable Grist Mill in Cades Cove.  Took many, many pictures trying to decide just how I wanted the wheel to look.  It wasn’t spinning when we first arrived, but an attendant came and enabled it.

Pictures taken with Canon 60D, EF-S 10-22mm lens @ 11mm, 15 sec, f/16, ISO 100 (ND4, ND8)

Cantilevered Barn

Cantilevered Barn

These cantilevered barns are an interesting concept to me – apparently allowed storage of hay and such on the second level while allowing a wagon to sit directly underneath.  Maybe it makes sense if you want to keep a wagon load of stuff dry or want to be able to load hay bales by dropping them through a hole.

Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 34mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Cades Cove

Cades Cove

We woke up stupidly early to go over Cades Cove and seek out wildlife pictures.  We didn’t see any ‘special’ wildlife (deer and turkey don’t count here) but the entire place was covered in fog, so it was something a little different to photograph.

Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 37mm, 1/4 sec, f/16, ISO 100