Badlands

Badlands

Makeup picture #1 (WordPress tells me I missed 4 days).  Badlands in the fall.  Still remains one of what I would call the most surprising destinations – it doesn’t have anything that specifically interests me, but it’s just a cool place to go hike around.  Miniature mountains everywhere.

Picture taken with Panasonic TS4, lens @ 4.9mm (28mm eq.), 1/1250 sec, f/3.3, ISO 100

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

Smoky Mountains 2015 – Day 3

Sunset

Smoky Mountains Day 3 itinerary:

  • Slept in (forecast of rain)
  • 11:30 – stopped at NOC for a hat
  • 12:00 – Alum trail to Mt. LaConte
  • 7:00 – return to trailhead
  • Return to hotel, made dinner
  • Went to Morton Overlook for sunset

It was supposed to rain on Saturday, so we didn’t really hurry to get up and going.  Turns out, that forecast was wrong and we probably could have gotten an earlier start.

We had noticed that there was an NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) building on the border of the park just in Gatlinburg.  I was unaware that NOC had physical stores – I thought they were an online only entity – but since it was there it got added to our list of things to do.  We stopped in mainly just to browse, and because I wanted a less warm hat than the one I was forced to use the day before.

Continue reading

Smoky Mountains 2015 – Day 2

Sunrise

Smoky Mountains Day 2 itinerary:

  • Stupid early – drive to Clingman’s Dome
  • Nap in Clingman’s Dome parking lot
  • 9:00 – Hiked to Clingman’s Dome
  • Continue down the Appalachian Trail
  • Fail to find Siler’s Bald
  • 4:30 – return to Clingman’s Dome lot
  • Returned to hotel

Day 2’s itinerary really only had two items on the list:  wake up and go watch the sunrise and then hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail starting at Clingman’s Dome.  We were able to get up early enough to do the sunrise thing in spite of the previous nights minimal sleep.  I haven’t done a lot of sunrise photography, but I’m happy with the pictures I got. Continue reading