While in the Smoky Mountains, visiting the top of Clingman’s Dome (the highest peak this side of the Mississippi at 6600 feet) was at the top of our list. The weather wasn’t terribly cooperative the first few days with ice and snow keeping the roads closed. However on our last day in the park – and just two days before the road to the Dome closes for the season – the road was open by late morning. We headed up in the afternoon with thoughts of watching the sun set from the mountain top.
The drive up was amazing.
And then about a half mile from the top a thick cloud rolled in. Visibility was less than .10 of a mile. This was our view from the top:
From the bottom of the mountain to the top, the temp dropped nearly 20 degrees, the wind picked up and the cloud descended. It wasn’t the sunset view we had in mind but it was a pretty cool experience. When we got back down the mountain, the snow was gone and we actually ate dinner outside.
Oh what a difference a few miles can make when you’re in the mountains.
It’s appropriate that I took my kids on a new adventure over Thanksgiving because I am so very, very thankful that I’ve been able to take them…
hiking in the Colorado mountains
scrambling around the cave dwellings of Mesa Verde
driving through the Painted Desert
exploring the Grand Canyon
viewing the vistas of the Pacific Ocean
experiencing L.A. traffic
enjoying the wonders of the Hoover Dam
sightseeing along the Vegas strip at night
climbing Bryce Canyon
scrambling the rocks at Arches National Park
wandering along the trails and dunes of Lake Michigan
walking across the Mackinac Bridge
biking around Mackinac Island
to the top of the Arch in St. Louis
learning in Chicago’s great museums and parks and zoos
splashing at the top and bottom of Niagara Falls
exploring countless battlefields from both the Revolutionary & Civil Wars including Yorktown & Gettysburg
back in time at Williamsburg
living in a beach house on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean
climbing the rocks of the Badlands
underground in amazing caves like Mammoth Cave & Cave of the Winds
viewing Mount Rushmore
exploring Devil’s Tower
hiking the trails and canyons and geyser paths of Yellowstone
tramping up and down the trails of Glacier National Park and driving along the one-of-a-kind Going to the Sun Road
rafting down the Snake River in the shadow of the Tetons
scrambling up to the top of a lava cone from a long ago volcano at Craters of the Moon National Park
whitewater rafting in West Virginia
canoeing, kayaking, hiking & exploring in countless parks
and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting…
And now I can add living on top of a mountain in the Smoky Mountains; exploring the valleys of Smoky Mountain National Park and its highest peaks.
We’ve been on some amazing adventures and we’d probably like to revisit many of them again. However, the beautiful trails of Smoky Mountain National Park will always be towards the top of the list. I was worried about the logistics of our mountain Thanksgiving. It turned out to be awesome. Our families of 10 crowded around the table to eat our favorite holiday dishes. We played lots of games. Took a few adventures. And created memories we’ll have forever.