Sunday, July 11, 2010

Smokys always a treat

Obligatory picture each year of whoever is with us 

This is our second trip to the Smokys this year.

With intermittent clear skies and rain, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park  is just like it usually is during the summer.

The forecast from June to September, I guess, is partly cloudy skies with chance of rain. We have had both during our stay the week after the 4th of July.

Temperatures in the daytime earlier in the week were sort of on the warm side being around 90 degrees. At night it is the high 60s. On Saturday the temperatures were milder and all through the day there was a soft wind and low humidity. Sunday morning the temperatures were cooler than other mornings.

Last year at this time, the Skupiens had their 1st Elkmont Campground family reunion. We had something like 22-25 people here. The get-together was a suggestion by younger son Jeremy about five years previous when he said : "Hey, let's have a get-together in the mountains in five years." He and our other and older son Walt, grew up coming to the mountains each year.

This year it is Walt and his family -- wife Sarah, sons Luke and Nate, and daughters,  Charlie and Stella, with us for a few days. They returned home Sunday morning. Linda and I will be remaining a few more days. Maybe we will remain in Elkmont  or head up to Balsam Mountain campground at elevations in the 5,000-foot range.

The park service used government stimulus money to repave the Cades Cove Road, a 11-mile loop on the west end of the park. The area encompasses mountains on the perimeter and a long valley. Old homesteads, and old churches and their accompanying graveyards, dot the countryside. There were deer and turkey and sometimes one can see bear. We didn't see any bear but did manage to glimpse one on our drive into the park near the Chimneys Picnic area.

Our Saturday night incursion into the cove ended at the Rich Mountain Road turnoff. It is a one-way drive on a dirt road that goes north from the cove over a mountain and then into Townsend.

In the cove there was a lot of traffic and it backed up a good bit. The grandkids had never been on the Rich Mountain Road and they found it rather interesting with the ups and downs and sharp curves.

I also enjoyed the drive since son Walt was behind the wheel and I could view the surroundings.

Its Sunday, the 11th. We are at a coffee shop in Gatlinburg called Coffee and Company. Pleasant surroundings. Good coffee and tea. It is located a mile or so east of US 441 on US 321. The official address is 490 East Parkway.

Guess you'll hear more about the mountains next week.

Next blog: Sunday, July 18, 2010

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