I’m grateful that A was all for chasing sunrises. We planned to head to Roaring Fork Nature Trail but realized that we were just going downhill. She spotted a pull off and we were richly rewarded. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise. And as it was still early, we decided to head to the Roaring For Motor Nature Trail since it is a one-way loop and pretty popular. This proved to be a smart choice. We got to lazily meander, stop as often as we want at a bunch of old, beautifully weathered buildings and enjoy the sheer lack of crowds.
The Cades Cove loop is where we encountered our “worst” traffic. It was slow going and we saw some people do some stupid things - like open their sunroof and stand up in it. Mind you, we were going like 2-5 miles per hour, but still. And yes, they were a passenger. The views were nice but it was morning, and the sun was harsh. We simply enjoyed the meandering road until we got to our destination.
Abrams Falls was our goal for that morning. A moderate 5.2 mile roundtrip to “the most voluminous waterfall in the park” was well worth it. It highlighted to me how out of shape I am (shame on me) but I had fun none-the-less. It was one of those fun hikes that unfortunately I had to watch my feet almost all the time to prevent disaster. I had fun none-the-less and enjoyed the gorgeous view once i got there. It was so popular that it was hard to get a good photo of it. I was pretty done for when we got back to the car but our next destination was well worth the detour.
Cable Mill & surrounding Buildings
We visited the other active mill in the Smokies, though it was not active on that particular day. However, they were demonstrating many other things such as blacksmith but what was really neat was seeing them make sorghum molasses. They used a mule-run mill in order to squeeze the syrup from the cane and then boiled it in a nearby tub. We sampled the pear butter while there and took home fruit butters and molasses as souvenirs!
It looked mildly promising for sunset and had asked a ranger for a good location to view sunsets - she mentioned Foothill Parkway. We never did find out which turnoff she mentioned, but we found one. A lot of bikers go up and down Foothill Parkway so we had some entertainment while waiting for the relatively lackluster sunset. Arriving back at our campsite well after dark, we decide it is definitely not worth in setting up the tent and slept in the car one last time.
Day 3 was mostly driving, but we did manage to catch a sunrise and a hike before hitting the road. Stay tuned!