The trek up to Clingman’s dome was some of the most pleasant hiking I’ve ever experienced. It was about 68 degrees, overcast, and every now and then a very slight mist would past through. The scenery and hiking trails were beautiful and had new sites at every bend.
When we reached the summit, we were higher than every mountain around us. Nothing in any direction could limit our site.
A storm rolled in, and we began to head back down. But not before I took one of my favorite photos from the trip.
This photo captures the namesake of the Smoky Mountains.
We decided we wanted to see some waterfalls. As Louisianians, any waterfall is impressive, and Grotto Falls did not disappoint. The clear pools of water and boulders to climb were plenty to keep our minds impressed.
This abandoned water mill was a nice treat on our way out. I snapped this shot of the tread.
We were lucky to stumbled across what is locally called the Midnight Waterhole.
After a day of ziplining, we made friends with the zipline workers who later showed us this hidden gem off the beaten trail. A cozy little tourist-free waterfall with a pool deep enough to jump off into.
Ahead of the falls I found some nicely flowing water over some rockbeds and snapped a few photos.
I also spotted a timber rattlesnake hiding in the brush.
We’d already seen a few waterfalls but we still wanted to hike. So we took the time to check out Lorel Falls. Along the way I came across a few noteworthy sites.
But my favorite part of this hike by far was seeing a mother bear and her cubs. They were so high up in the tree it was hard to snap a photo, but I managed a few just to prove the story.
Our horseback riding was a fun and unique experience. There’s not much else to say, so here’s some photos.