I have to be honest, when I look back at our 5-day visit to Great Smoky Mountains, one memory blocks out all the others. Clouds. Never-ending clouds dumping buckets and buckets of rain. I think we saw blue skies peek through twice. I would estimate it probably rained 40-50% of our total time there and was cloudy 85%.
That might not seem like a lot of rain, but trust me, it is. Nothing ever dried. It wears you down. And most unfortunately, it hamstrung our itinerary.
However, I feel like we still got a great picture of the park. In usual #SwitchbackStyle we packed a lot into our days…
My favorite part was backpacking for 2 days on a 23-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Even though we cut it down from 3-days because of the rain and we couldn’t see any of the hyped spectacular views along the way. It was very cool to stay the night in an AT shelter where we shared sleeping space with 12 other few thru hikers and section hilkers (2 of whom gave us an impromptu concert <see video> with the “guits” they packed all the way from Maine). For more on the fascinating AT, check out Elizabeth’s post on Friday.
And of course we hit all the highlights like Cades Cove and Abram Falls (surprisingly we saw only 2 others there because, guess what, it was raining!). We even made it a bit further off the beaten path to check out the more impressive Grotto Falls that you can walk behind. Then we used our one non-rainy afternoon to hike an 8-mile out-and-back to the Ramsey Cascades. It was great way to cap off the visit and by far and away the best waterfall in the park. Elizaeth says itmight be her favorite of the trip.
But instead of blabbing about all this stuff and whining about rain, how about I just let you check out the Great Smoky Mountains video….
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