Photo Essay: Great Smoky Mountains

Here are a few pictures from my recent trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Mrs. Lite and I stayed in nearby Gatlinburg at the Hampton Inn right smack in the middle of town which was a great location within convenient walking distance to several attractions, restaurants, and bars.  From there, it was also a short 5 minute drive to the north entrance of the park.

With over 11 million annual visitors, the Smokies is by far the most visited national park in the United States and is a great place to explore if you’re into hiking, camping, fishing, or numerous other outdoor activities.  A unique feature of the park is that it is completely free to visit with no entrance fee; there are some convoluted legal reasons for this which can be googled if you want to know the details.

The following photos were taken with a Ricoh GR unless otherwise indicated.

The above shows what I packed for this vacation.  My usual pack list, plus some sunscreen, bug spray, hat, water bottle, and a pair of trail shoes (not shown in the photo).  All of it fit nicely in my backpack with plenty of room to spare.  We ended up buying a big bottle of water for our hike, so next time the Nalgene will stay at home.

The Sky Bridge in Gatlinburg. This is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America that just opened a month ago.

The center of the bridge is glass, revealing a clear view straight down.  Shot with iPhone XS.

The start of the Charlies Bunion trail, a small segment of the Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine.

The rock formation known as Charlies Bunion. I guess it kinda looks like a bunion if you squint a little.
Some hikers at the top enjoying a lunch break.
A viewpoint called the Jump Off.  Panorama shot with iPhone XS.
A young deer foraging for food. Shot with iPhone XS.
One full day was spent at Dollywood, an amusement park similar to Six Flags. The above pictured Lightning Rod roller coaster was the best ride of the day.
We strategically went to Dollywood on a Monday morning. Minimal to no lines on every ride.  It’s much busier than this on the weekends.
A mama bear at Cades Cove. She had two babies with her, but they scampered off into the woods before we could get a picture.  We stayed a safe distance from the bears like responsible adults with functioning brains.
Cades Cove

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