It's Cades Cove day! I so wish my daughter had been feeling better. We left the hotel at 5:45 am to get to the cove before sunrise, as there's always a long line of cars waiting to get in. Besides being tired, my daughter doesn't travel in cars well. She didn't get out of the car much, so we didn't do our usual walk arounds at the cabins and churches. This was by far the fastest I've ever driven around the loop, but what's a mom to do? Still, there was plenty of scenery along the way and sometimes you don't even have to get out of the car to get a good picture. Here are a few of my favorites. You will notice very little color in the cove, as the lower elevations were just starting to turn.
After Cades Cove and just a few miles up the road is Elkmont. This is somewhere that I have never explored and we really enjoyed walking through the history of this area. If you refer back to the first blog post of our trip (Elkmont Historic District), I put together some collages showing the original images of the Wonderland Hotel and annex. We also walked through some of the old structures along the road known as "Daisy Town." These historic structures are mostly in disrepair and many are unsafe to enter. In 2009, the final plan was issued by the National Park Service to preserve only 18 of the 74 structures around the Elkmont area. The other 56 buildings will be removed permanently.
We ended our day with a hike up to Clingmans Dome. There's something about hiking at 6,643 feet up that gets me every time. I typically have to stop a few times along the way, but when you turn around, you are rewarded with an amazing view. We also took in the sunset despite the extremely cloudy sky.