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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


26 comments:

  1. Those birds are smarter than we often give them credit for. They know when dinner will be served and where.

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    1. You're so right, Ruth. There's quite a flurry of activity among those birds when that alarm goes off.

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  2. Beautiful photos, Linda, and I love the saxophone!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. The music was a pleasant accompaniment to our afternoon of reading and relaxing.

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  3. Linda, thank you so much for sharing about the things that are still to be enjoyed in that part of TN. Your pictures are beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Dianna. We find the Smokies beautiful no matter when we go or under what circumstances. It's just a gorgeous and relaxing place.

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  4. The Douglas Dam overlook is a great place for some landscape photography. I really like the vantage point from up there. Lovely images all around Linda.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. Mersad, the view from the Douglas Dam overlook is something we never tire of enjoying. It's the perfect spot to spend an afternoon of reading and enjoying the views.

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  5. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the beauty of the Smokies after seeing the fre damage. We were amazed st how close the fire got to the Ogle cabin.

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    1. George, it was Betsy's pictures of the blackened ground near the cabin that made me want to see it for myself. I didn't want to duplicate her picture, though, so I shot the cabin from a different angle. Besides, with each passing week, I think the starkness of the fire damage is diminishing.

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  6. Some pretty nice shots, love the rookery.I saw my first daffodil in the yard today

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    1. Thank you, Steve. Congrats on seeing the daffodil! I think winter is (mostly) behind us.

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  7. Lovely post, Linda. What beautiful photos - I especially like the rookery birds and Cataract Falls. (I've always wished the falls had a different name, but nobody asked me about it, lol.) You're absolutely right, with the park's 522,427 acres, and the burned area covering around 17,000 acres, there's still plenty to see and do in the Smokies. I just love hearing the names of the cabins in the park. Of course, Ogle is an Irish surname, and I remember during my childhood that most phone books in Tennessee read like one from Ireland and Scotland since the majority of early settlers were of Scots-Irish decent. Those immigrants supposedly felt at home in the hills and valleys of our state as it reminded them of their native lands. But, oh my, have things have changed...
    Have a great weekend!
    Toni

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    1. Thank you, Toni. I know that you and your husband have both undergone cataract surgeries recently, and that that's what you probably think of when you see the name for Cataract Falls. Actually, no matter how you look at the name for this waterfall, it doesn't fit. "Cataract" usually refers to a large waterfall, and this one definitely isn't large. When we're hiking in the park, I think about the people who used to live there. Life had to have been hard for them. But it was home.

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  8. Great pictures Linda! I always enjoy 'traveling' with you and Doug through your photos!

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    1. Thanks, Diane. I wish it had worked out for you to join us there, but maybe next time. I'm enjoying the pictures of your Florida trip, though. :)

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  9. This is such a nice set of photos, Linda, but above all I like that flowering tree and the Dam, it's a beautiful place. That Bud Ogle cabin had a lucky escape, good to see it survived.
    PS I'm shocked, you've changed the template of your blog! :)

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    1. Thank you, Petra. It was something of a miracle that none of the historical structures in the park were destroyed.

      Once you get over the shock of seeing a new template here, I hope you like it. :) I'd been tired of the old one for a long time but just hadn't mustered up enough motivation to change it.

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  10. So glad you all got to see the Ogle Cabin up close and personal. Amazing how close that fire came to the cabin... I'll bet there were firefighters there keeping water on the cabin roof....

    We've never been to the Douglas Lake area. Looks like a place we need to visit sometime.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Yes, Betsy, it was great to see the Ogle cabin remarkably unscathed by the fire. Douglas Dam overlook, of course, is not part of Smoky Mountain National Park. But it's an easy drive from Pigeon Forge and a pleasant place to spend a relaxing afternoon. It's nice to go there on the day before we leave, to rest up for the drive home.

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  11. Such a terrible destructive thing fire is! Glad that you were still able to enjoy serenity and beauty in the Smokies even after the fire. Beautiful pictures you shared of dam overlook, the cabin, and the very smart birds :) Happy to meet you today!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, SpicingUpIdaho. It's nice to meet you. And thank you for the kind words.

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  12. beautiful photos ,deliver peace and serenity to soul!
    glad you were safe and had good time by exploring the beauty of mountains.
    they are treat as i can see through you wonderful capturing.
    you must be happy to hear song of bird in a silent environment ,nature is precious .
    how interesting to listen some music from man with pet .
    glad that boys were not hurt while practicing .

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    1. Thank you kindly, Baili. This national park always fills us with peace and beauty when we're there. And mockingbirds are among our very favorites. They sing and sing and sing, perfectly mimicking the songs of a variety of songbirds.

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