4/17/2014

Oconaluftee


Oconaluftee is another place on the NC side of the Great Smoky Mountains.  It's near Cherokee, NC, and has one of four visitors' centers in the Park (the others are Cades Cove, Sugarlands, and Clingmans Dome).  It is also the main entrance to the Park on the NC side.  
Oconaluftee Visitor Center picture
(Picture used with permission by RuralRamblings.com)
A Cherokee Village once stood on/near the site of the visitors' center, and may have been destroyed during the American Revolution.  It is also believed to be the only permanent Cherokee village that is within what is now the Park.
Near the Visitors' Center, there is a large campground (Smokemont), which was once a logging community.  The nearby trail connects with the Appalachian Trail near Clingmans Dome.   The Blue Ridge Parkway is also nearby.
In Cherokee, NC, there is an Oconaluftee Indian Village which is very popular.  The Mountain Farm Museum is adjacent to the Visitors Center, and includes a cabin, barn, meathouse, applehouse, chicken house, corn cribs, a spring house, and, of course, Mingus Mill.
The Oconaluftee River Trail is more of a walking trail.  Dogs are allowed on this trail, which begins at the Visitors Center and ends near Cherokee.  Joggers and bicyclists can also be seen on this trail.
The area is now included in the National Register of Historic Places, as of 1982.

4/16/2014

Newfound Gap


Newfound Gap is the area where Clingmans Dome is located; it is the center of the Great Smoky Mountains.  The road to Newfound Gap is a 2-lane road that is in good shape, albeit very windy, and is accessible from Gatlinburg, Tn., Cherokee, NC, or from Townsend, Tn. 
Prior to 1872, Indian Gap was thought to be the lowest pass through the area. Arnold Henry Guyot (a Swiss geographer) determined Newfound Gap to be lower that Indian Gap, and it was dubbed "new found gap", or Newfound Gap.
The Appalachian Trail crosses here, and the NC/Tn. state line is also here.  A couple of years ago (in late March), CH & I took a ride up to Newfound Gap.  The following are some pictures:
The State Line:
 The View:

 The Parking Lot  (Keep in mind this is THE SOUTH...IN LATE MARCH!)
 The road going to Newfound Gap



 A picture of one of my brothers & a couple of sisters, along with some cousins who were visiting from Tx. (circa 1968?-or before!)
If you're planning a trip to the Smokies, this is definitely one place that is not to be missed!

4/15/2014

Metcalf Bottoms


Metcalf Bottoms is a nice little picnic area in the Smokies.  There is a river that runs through it, so in the summer time the kids (old & young alike) can jump in and cool off.  We took the boys soon after we moved here, and they thoroughly enjoyed it!  
The area used to be a family farm (the Metcalf Farm), and, when Little River Road was being built, the Metcalfs took water from the river to the workers.  After the establishment of the National Park, the area was named "Metcalf Bottoms".
Photo: METCALF BOTTOMS PICNIC PAVILION
(For Photo Credit, click on the picture)
It is here that the trail to Little Greenbrier School begins.  

This photo of Metcalf Bottoms Trail is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The picnic area has a pavilion that can facilitate up to 70 people.  At each picnic spot (there are 165 total), there are grills.  Flush toilets and drinking fountains are also available.  
As with all areas in the Smokies, bears will come to forage for any leftovers, so it's important to clear all signs of your picnic.