On our first day of exploring Gatlinburg, we drove 24 miles to Cade's Cove.
Traffic through Gatlinburg was a little crazy. Now I'm really glad we didn't visit on the weekend.
Our first stop was the visitor center to pick up maps of the entire area.
And we watched a 20 minute video on the history of the park.
Then we were off to drive the Cade's Cove loop. Along the way, there were some pretty views from the road.
There was a little hiking on the agenda today. The first was a small cabin just off the road.
It looked pretty nice for being built in 1822.
It had two porches, three doors, and a large window.
Along with a fireplace it also had stairs to a 2nd level.
The leaves had already gone from green over to oranges and deep reds.
Next we stopped at an old Methodist church built in 1902.
The small cemetery had lots of Myers in it. As far as we could tell, no relation to Richard. It was a different time way back then. There were lots of infants and young mothers. The most recent was a young man who died in 2004 at age 20.
A 360 view from a valley with mountains surrounding us.
As we were taking photos, a car pulled directly behind ours, started belching steam, and then dumped all its antifreeze on the ground. So now we were stuck for a while they sorted that out. While we were waiting, there was a praying mantis.
Once the car behind us moved, we were on to our next stop, an old mill that was used for grinding corn.
Beautiful leaves here too!
Mom asked me to get a picture of this blue bird for her.
The road is really narrow and we happened to get stuck behind a car that was driving 5mph in a 20mph zone. And even though there are signs asking to be courteous and pull off, he would stop in the middle of the road, hold out his iPhone and take some pictures, then crawl forward again. After 20 minutes of this, I had to just pull off to the side and put some distance between us.
After we started moving again, we drove for another 5 minutes before we just parked and didn't move. A bicycle rode past us we were going so slow. A few minutes later, we discovered what the hold-up was. People were stopping to take pictures of a couple deer that were on the side of the road.
As we drove back, we passed a small waterfall off the road and joined the two other photographers taking photos of it.
We made it back to the cabin just as the sun was setting. The drive up was much easier with some light.
The view off our porch after sunset.
And after dinner, we sat around and enjoyed the house. Mom and Theresa played Bananagrams.
Another fun day and lots of beautiful leaves.