3rd HP of the trip was in the clouds

We have had an exciting 2 days in the smoky mountains.  The hikes are beautiful but the views have been sparse. The clouds have made the Smokeys live up to their name.   

   

We hit the top of Tennessee, Clingman’s Dome, on Monday.   It was crowded, even though the views were completely obscured by the clouds.  The parking lot is a hoot, think we counted 20 different state license plates.  We packed up for the 1 mile round trip walk to the top of the dome and the  3.6 mile round trip to Andrew’s Bald.   We had full rain gear on, since it was starting to sprinkle.  By the time we arrived on the bald, it was showering.  We scooted into a dry sheltered spot under a fir tree to nibble on lunch.  Realizing we were not going to get a view, we hiked back to the truck.  Instead of trying another hike, we opted to go back for a beer and a fish BBQ.  It was a great idea.   We did hit one of the grist mills on the way back to the  funky motel.  The Pioneer Inn is short on amenities but long on grass and room for the dogs. 

   
 Today we hiked the Appalachian trail from Newfound Gap to Charlie’s Bunion.  It is an 8 mile round trip hike with a moderate gain in elevation.  Again we were thwarted by clouds. This time we tried waiting it out with about a dozen other people to see if a view would emerge.   We had lunch. We waited. After an hour we headed back to the car. One couple had been there for about an hour before we arrived and was still waiting it out when we left.

  
  Of course as we descended the sun came out and the views started to show up.  

  
We gave Clingman’s Dome one more whirl, but the higher elevations  were socked in.   And on that note say goodbye to the Smoky Mountains.  Tomorrow we drive to Kentucky.  

Happy trails 

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