Orlando Bingles’ 2011 Summer Road Trip – Day 4

by Bingle on Aug.16, 2011, under Richard Bingle Family

Day 4 of our trip was devoted solely to visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

We started the day by taking a hike to Laurel Falls. The trail was 1.3 miles each way. For fun, I wore the GoPro camera strapped on my head and set to take a picture every minute. The falls weren’t all that spectacular somewhat of a disappointment after the long uphill hike. To make matters worse, with people (stupidly) climbing all over, around, and in the falls it was difficult to get a decent picture without some stranger in the frame.

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Our next stop was Newfound Gap to take some pictures of the mountain views and take a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Ok, it wasn’t really a hike, but we did go down it a ways so that we could take some pictures and claim that we had “hiked the Appalachian Trail”.

From there it was about a 7 mile drive to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park. Well, actually, that drive got us to within about a half mile of the peak (on which sits an observation tower). The weather in the parking lot was great and offered some nice views of the Great Smoky Mountains and we took a bunch of pictures before heading up the half mile paved path to the summit.

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By the time we got to the top a cloud had pretty much settled in right at the observation post completely obscuring the view to the north. We stayed there for about 30 minutes waiting for the ceiling to lift, but it never did. Since we didn’t get a chance to be awed by the view from the top, I’m not sure if I’d ever attempt that hike again as the trail was pretty steep and I was pretty worn out by the time we got to the top.

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