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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beauty & Peace in the Smokies

My last post focused on the fire damage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in and around Gatlinburg, Tennessee. But, lest you think that there's nothing left in the area but burned-out buildings and scorched landscapes, I'd like to assure you that we still found the area beautiful and still experienced the sense of peace that always comes over us when we're there.

We enjoyed some beautiful spring-like weather during our recent short stay. I've been experiencing some foot pain (plantar fasciitis), so we weren't able to hike, but we did take the very short walk back to Cataract Falls.

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Cataract Falls

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This beautiful flowering tree was drawing a crowd at the Maloney Point Overlook.

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The historic Bud Ogle cabin escaped the fire, which had burned to within a few feet of the back porch.

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A Mockingbird serenading us from the top of a tree at one of the many outlet malls.
A quick story about going to the outlet mall...Doug saw a store advertising wallets, and he needed a wallet. So we stopped in. It was a Wilson's Leather store. They didn't have what he wanted in a wallet, but they did have what I wanted in a leather jacket. We thought about it for a couple of days, and I did some online research to look for a better price. But, in the end, we went back to get it. And I love it.

One of our favorite places in the area is the Douglas Dam overlook, so we went there on the day before we came home.

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Douglas Dam


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We've seen lots of unusual things on our visits to Douglas Dam. This time, it was a man playing a trumpet (later, a saxophone), accompanied by his faithful dog, Jazzy. 

Another time when we were there, some teenagers had strung a rope between trees and were practicing tight-rope walking. Fortunately, the rope wasn't very high off the ground because they hadn't finely tuned their skills yet.

Before leaving the dam, we like to go down to the base of the dam, where birds gather to fish. There are blue herons, cormorants, egrets, terns, and bald eagles. An alarm goes off when water is about to be released through the dam, and it's like a dinner bell to the birds. Apparently the incoming water is filled with fish.

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This rookery includes nests of herons, egrets, and cormorants.

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Blue Herons waiting for dinner


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