Marcie shoots a 4 point buck
08 August 2012 | Great Smokey Mountains NP, Tennessee
We headed into Tennessee to Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Great Smokey is the most visited national park in the USA...really. We would have guessed Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, but no, it's Great Smokey. The entrance town of Gatlinburg is a mess. Hotels, tourists, restaurants, tacky shops, tourists, tacky entertainment and oh yeah, did we mention tourists?
We wended our way through the town bumper-to-bumper to get to the park entrance. We opted to camp out in the park in spite of the hot, humid temps versus dealing with heading back to Gatlinburg. The campsite was nearly full, but we found a spot and pitched the tent. Around dusk, we thought we'd take a ride on the Cade Cove Loop Road, figuring we'd have the place to ourselves. Mongo wrongo! There are supposedly 1500 bear in the park and it's also the Salamander Capital of the World (dubious honor), but we saw nary a one. We did see lots of deer...outnumbered 100:1 with tourists parked anywhere but in the turnouts, thus causing stopped lines of waiting, impatient cars on the narrow park road.
All in all, not our idea of a good time. That said, we imagine visiting during off-season as we've done with other major parks would be a great experience. Next time around.