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The header picture shows a beautiful group of LILIES in our yard named TOUCHING.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heintooga Mountain Road Trip (Smoky Mountains National Park)

Us at Balsam Mountain (along the Flat Creek Trail) enjoying the view from about 5500 feet
On  September 5, 2014,  George and I took a LONG Day Trip to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  When I say long,  I am saying 15 hours and about 300 miles total!!!!  On this trip,  we took photos from the Gatlinburg Bypass and then traveled over the mountain (on Highway 441) to Cherokee, North Carolina.   We then got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and turned left at mile marker 458.2, heading up the  Balsam Mountain Road and back into the Smoky Mountain National Park.

We took a short hike on Flat Creek Trail near the picnic area on the top of Balsam Mountain (at an elevation of about 5500 feet).  Here is where  (thanks to friend Sharon) we found an awesome overlook complete with benches.  WOW--what a gorgeous overlook.  I could have sat there forever just admiring the beauty.  The picture above is one of us enjoying the view at that overlook --and also enjoying each other!!!!


NEXT---the 'fun' began!!!!!  We headed DEEP into the mountains on a muddy/gravel one-way road.   We drove around and around those mountains going from 5500 feet down to 2000 feet when we finished.  George and Mrs. P (our Prius) did GREAT (as usual) driving on that old road... I was snapping pictures all along the way... How wonderful to be that far into the mountains with nobody else around!!!!!!


Here is what the area and our road looked like!  Since the Smokies get quite a bit of rain this time of year,  everything was so lush and gorgeous.  (NOTE:  This would be a great road to take in the Fall --if you want to see the beautiful Fall colors without alot of people around!!!)


Look  what two 'waterfall lovers' saw along that curvy road...  There were cascades coming down the mountains --and they 'sounded' marvelous!!!!  I wanted to take a chair outside there and just sit and listen to that water and enjoy nature at its finest.


We encountered some rain along our way --and I loved seeing it clinging to all of the greenery in that dense area.  WOW--you just needed to be there!!!!


AHHHHH---another pretty little cascade flowing down the mountain!!  Do you think these cascades were there just for US??????  Hmmmmmmm. 


I don't know how many of you enjoy being back in the mountains like I do --but I think there is just something truly magical and marvelous about areas like this... I love seeing the mountains from overlooks,  but from 'inside' --this, to me,  is nature at its very best.


We continued on that one-way road for a long time --and there were no other people anywhere near!!!  The mountains belonged to US --just for those few hours!!!


When the sun came out--after the rain---the leaves on the trees just seemed to be saying,  "Thank You.. Thank You..Thank You.."


Once we got down to Straight Fork Road,  we followed a gorgeous creek (appropriately named Straight Fork Creek).  AND of course,  we saw some gorgeous rapids in this creek.   For you fishermen out there,  HERE  is a link talking about the fishing in this creek.  Apparently,  there are some great trout there waiting to be caught for dinner...


Oh how I love this area with its tall trees --and now with the creek nearby!!!!!


And --we saw even more cascades when we got down near the creek...


As you can tell,  I LOVED driving along this road checking out all of the woods around us... Again,  like I said in a previous photo,  I loved it when the sun beamed down onto all of the trees!!!!


Here's only one of the MANY rapids/cascades we saw along Straight Fork Creek.  As you know,  George loves using his special filters when taking water pictures.  SO--he will have many beautiful photos to share with you sometime along this creek I am sure!


While George was taking special pictures along the creek,  I was admiring everything else including the water.  In this photo ---I loved seeing all of the GREEN MOSS covering the rocks.  This area of the Smokies reminded me of another favorite area of ours,  the area above Elkmont,  where the water rushes by tons of huge boulders.    (Remember the blog I did from there a year or so ago when it rained cats and dogs and we were soaked????)


There's my Sweetheart ---taking pictures all along that creek...  You can see Mrs. P in the distance... Oh how we love that car since 'she' takes us to so many gorgeous places.


Finally,  the 'big boss' is hollering at hubby saying,  "Come On... Let's go.  I'm getting hungry for some dinner at the Texas Roadhouse"......

Hope you enjoyed our little trip back into the Smoky Mountains.  This makes the second Day Trip we have taken recently.  We went to Cataloochee --by way of the back roads--on 8/22...  We had been wanting to take these two back-road trips for quite some time --so we finally  took them.. If you want to read more about the Auto Tours throughout the Smokies,  click HERE.  There are some great ones ---and the last two we took are never terribly crowded even in peak tourist seasons,  which is what we LOVE.


I'll close with one more picture of two people who absolutely LOVE the Smoky Mountains...This was also taken on the top of Balsam Mountain --along the Flat Creek Trail.

Hugs,

53 comments:

Ann said...

That is a long day but with scenery like that it would have been heavenly.
What a pretty area that is.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Beautiful, peaceful photos! How blessed you two are to be able to make all of these trips, big and little and then share the beauty you see with all of us in blogland.

DH and I went to Gatlinburg for our honeymoon, Sept. '69, and I loved the area. We took back roads to go to this really cool waterfall/stream area for a picnic. I love mountains and streams, the earthy scents, the coolness, the myriad of streams and rivulets, cascades, it's all wonderful as your photos show. I can almost feel being there through them. Thank you.

FlowerLady

Jeevan said...

Wow! You sound awesome Betsy. That seems like my kind of mountain road... drove amid woods and natural creek and falls. I enjoyed the photos that go along the curve road. Cheers!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Boy, I'd love to take a road trip with you two... and end it with dinner at the Texas Roadhouse!! ;) Fun day. Great exercise. BEAUTIFUL scenery. Then dinner. Yep, sign me up. blessings ~ tanna

Manzanita said...

Energy must abound all around with all the falling and moving and swirling water. Negative ions make one giddy with happiness and you are in the midst of it. What lucky ducks.
The competition of the trees is fierce as they all reach up taller and taller for some rays of the sun.

A beautiful road trip and thank you for taking us along.

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely trip, I am envious that you are so close to all this beauty.My last time there I pulled over for any little waterfall.

linda m said...

My hubby and I prefer back roads to major roads. A person can get away from it all doing that and the stress level goes way down. Plus the beauty of Mother Nature is so evident on back roads. I am a "back to nature" kind of person and would love to visit such a place as this.

Jim and Sandie said...

A perfect day with light rain, sunshine, rushing water and green everywhere. Well worth the looong day.

diane b said...

That sure was one long day trip but the mountains are beautiful inside and out.

Marcia said...

That sounds like a lot of fun. Lovely place too and to have it all to yourselves. I'll have to remember that if we ever get down that way again someday.

George said...

I really enjoyed this trip through the Smokies, but if we do it again I think you should drive so I can take pictures!

ladyfi said...

What lovely photos of your trip.

Liene said...

Lovely pictures! I just love the Smokies, especially the light and the smell...

Sylvia K said...

What a great trip and such terrific captures!!! The next best thing to being there, Betsy!! Thanks for sharing the beauty!! I do love places like this!!

David said...

Betsy, Now that is what I call a true back road trip! We've done a couple of dirt road treks through the foothills of the Smokies and it's great when you can explore and see just about no one else. The longest day trip that we ever took was from a suburb of St. Louis MO down to Kentucky Lake and back... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

LV said...

I could never keep up with you two. I am tired from just reading about your hikes. I love both photos of you two, but the first one is special and my favorite.

Terri D said...

Oh Betsy!! How absolutely beautiful! I can almost smell the dirt and foliage after the rain, and hear the water tumbling over the rocks! Yes, I love that. A couple of those photos look like oil paintings...maybe a special filter was used. Lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Small City Scenes said...

I love the mountains too mainly because we live in the mountains. It seems when we go for a road trip it is always Eastern Washington which is flat and desert-like in most places. but there is nothing better than a drive or walk deep in the mountains on a beautiful road. You guys and Mrs.P. have SO much fun!!!
MB

Jo said...

Oh Betsy, what a magical trip along that rough road. I loved every photo of the lush forests and cascades. But most of all, I loved the last photo! Blessings Jo

Happyone said...

A long but what a beautiful day trip. My favorite picture is the two of you on the bench. : )

Big Dude said...

Looks like a beautiful drive and I enjoyed your shots of it. I checked it out on Google Earth and it sure winds around a lot of country.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Oh, my! These photos of the Great Smoky Mountains are magnificent! I love the streams, waterfalls, trees, and lovely landscape scenes. These lovely shots look so peaceful. Thanks for sharing such beauty with us.

Shug said...

The top photo is my all time favorite picture of you two..... This is a "Must" frame photo that needs to be displayed in your home. Beautiful and it speaks so loud and clear of your love for one another....

love it!!
shug

From the Kitchen said...

Not tropical, but a beautiful rain forest! I'd like to have hammock between two of those trees, a hamper of food and lots of good books!

Best,
Bonnie

Terry and Linda said...

Your area is just stunning! I love the richness in which you live!


Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

DeniseinVA said...

You find some really incredible places to see Betsy. Thank you for sharing them. I would love to go this route one day. Loved the photos, not only of all that lush and green vegetation but also of you and George. That first photo was so sweet.

Betsy said...

Goodness that WAS a long day trip. It's not long on an Interstate highway, but with stopping and starting like you did it must have been a long day. The scenery is beautiful and reminds me of Western Oregon and Washington out here. I, too, love waterfalls and so enjoy your posts about them. Thank you for taking us along with you once again.
Blessings,
Betsy

Ruth Hiebert said...

That was a fun and gorgeous trip.Can we do it again soon? Only this time I would want to be in the car with you and bring my camera. :)

Retired English Teacher said...

I've just got to go and see those Smokies. The path you traveled is just beautiful Of course, it was peppered with all the things you love most: tall trees, streams, bubbling brooks, and water rolling over the smooth rocks, and waterfalls. I do think your photo at the top of the post is my favorite photo of the two of you. It captures your essence as a couple. Hugs.

Betty Manousos said...

what a wonderful trip, betsy.

the scenery is just incredible!this place is beautiful! And the walking trails are awesome. so many waterfalls and views are amazing!
i totally loved seeing your beautiful photos.
have a great day

big hugs!

Ginny said...

What does the sign mean by Cherokee? Did you run across any Indians? I am glad you did not get scalped! My favorites are the creek pictures!! And the velvety emerald green moss.

NCmountainwoman said...

Love those backroads, especially when they are one-way. Great photographs.

Arkansas Patti said...

Loved that first picture of the two of you snuggling on the bench. You are the cutest couple.
What a beautiful place, and just for the two of you. How perfect. For that day, every acre, tree and waterfall was all yours.

Kay said...

Looks like a beautiful place.

The Furry Gnome said...

Wonderful drive; wonderful pix!

carolina nana said...

I love getting back in the mountains on these roads less traveled. Makes you feel closer to God the maker of all that beauty.
I also love non crowded places !!
Blessings
marilyn

Sharon said...

Great description of a wonderful drive. Some beautiful trails off of that road as well.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Another great adventure in a spectacular setting! I get such vicarious pleasure exploring these places through your wonderful blog! So glad that you and George and Mrs. P are all doing well!

Rose said...

Oh, wow, Betsy...what a day you had! There is just a stillness about being back in the mountains...sore of reminds me of 'Be still and know that I am God."

MTWaggin said...

Love all your shots but the first one was my absolute favorite!!!! You are right fall colors there would be stunning!

Marie said...

This is my idea of being in the forest. How I would love to do this kind of thing again! We have often owned a jeep, and have been on so many back roads over the years. There is nothing more beautiful than an Appalachian backroad! Wow, this brings back memories! What a beautiful drive, you two!

peaches mcginty said...

Hi Betsy!
what a beautiful photo to start your post! I love it! The Smoky Mountains are incredible and how wonderful for a few fleeting hours to experience it by yourselves, bliss! I love the waterfalls too!
have a great weekend x x x

Dee said...

Dear Betsy, way back in August 1971, a friend and I camped in the Smokies. We didn't travel the inward roads as you did and see all the lushness and the creeks, but we so enjoyed the camping and the hiking. And also Gatlinburg. Peace.

Daisy said...

What a beautiful area to visit, Betsy! I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. I love that first photo of you and George on the bench--so sweet!

eileeninmd said...

Betsy, what a lovely place for a hike..Gorgeous photos! The first shot is my favorite.. Happy weekend!

Beth said...

Gorgeous photos, Betsy! Reminds me of this area when we go back into the far 'sticks'. Of course, we just have hills not mts. but the lushness is still there. I often think of the Native Americans walking through these woods and how their reverence for nature was so 'spot on'. I also think of how the early pioneers must have been amazed at the incredible lushness and beauty after coming from crowded European cities. Too bad we in the US haven't had the same reverence everywhere that the natives did. ♥B

Janice K said...

It looked like a wonderful adventure. I especially liked that first picture of the two of you--really neat!

Kay said...

Love all these gorgeous photos. I would love to go hiking again in some cool air because it's stifling hot over here. I take it the photo of the two of you sitting was done on a tripod and timed? :- )

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You're in God's country there...as they say! What amazing photos! I'm enjoying each and every one of them! We are back in Florida already but we love the mountains of NC, too! Hugs Diane

amanda | wildly simple said...

The first and last photos here - the two of you & George together, might be my favorite ever!
What treasures - I hope they hang on a wall for you and all who see them to smile at. :)

Neal said...

I love driving down that road. It's so peaceful and enjoyable.

Twilight Man said...

I love all your fresh and green photos. The tall trees are so lovely to walk beneath and get lost in the wilderness! You both had such an exciting trip to cover 300 miles! Wow! You have such a faithful car which brought you to so many happy sites!

I always love to watch the rapids and cascades which would calm my mind and soul instantly.

Patty Denton said...

So Pretty, I especially love the ones of the water in Cades Cove. My kids played in that exact spot when they were young.