2013 Fall Escapade travel blog

Today's route to River Plantation

Winnie at River Plantation

New hitching system for 5th wheel trailers

Sue and I at grafitti coverd Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance...

Driving into Gatlinburg

Looking up into the forest canopy along Roaring Fork

View from the nature trail

Lots of red berries along the trails

Mushrooms growing on a dead tree

Strange looking mushroom on another dead tree

Orange fungal growth on log

Grotto Falls in the background

This guy was balanced on the log for about 3 minutes while...

Another view of Grotto Falls

One more view of the falls - I needed to get my...

Route of the hike to the falls

Liverworts on a tree stump

Traffic on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge

One of the many pancake houses

Yesterday's route around Roaring Fork and back to camp

One of our neighbors decorations

Halloween decorations by the campfire

Back of the trailer in the picture before

Another decorated site

More decorations

Windshield of a motorhome


Witch flying

Today we made a short drive from the relative tranquility of Townsend to the turbulence of Sevierville/Pigeon Forge. The Parkway is the main road between Pigeon Forge and Sevierville where River Plantation RV Resort is located. It’s 8 lanes wide and is lined by entertainment venues, souvenir shops, hotels, and strangely enough pancake houses the entire way. We’ll be here about 3 weeks while I do an energy audit at River Plantation. There should be plenty to do in our spare time.

This morning I went with a couple of people from the photo workshop to photograph the sunrise. They picked me up at 5:45AM to drive over to a scenic overlook on the Foothills Parkway that would give us good vantage point. The plan was to get there about a half hour before sunrise which we thought was going to be about 7:00AM. As we sat there, it didn’t appear to be getting any lighter toward the east. We checked the weather apps on our phones and it turns out that sunrise wouldn’t be until 7:45AM. Since we didn’t feel like waiting in the dark for over an hour and nothing was open for breakfast we headed back to the campground and there will be no sunrise pictures.

Yesterday, we drove Gatlinburg to follow the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Roaring Fork is the name of a stream and an old Appalachian community on the slopes of 5,000 ft Mount Le Conte. The stream begins near the summit of the mountain where the drainage from 3 springs come together and drops 2,500 ft. over about 2 miles to the Little Pigeon River in Gatlinburg. Along the way Roaring Fork spills over Grotto Falls about three-fourths of the way up the mountain. I decided to climb up to Grotto Falls to get some pictures of the 25 ft. falls while Sue waited in the car. The brochure that we picked up describes the hike from the parking area as “fairly easy” and “only 520 ft” rise along the 1.3 mile trail. I won’t listen to the brochures any more. The hike may have been easy for a 20-something or 30-something, but not for this 60-something. It was a pretty walk shaded by beeches and maples and pretty cool, but it was uphill all the way to Grotto Falls. I started at 4:00PM and didn’t get back to the car until after 6:00PM. It’s a good thing that the cell phones worked so I could let Sue know where I was. After the walk up, I was a little disappointed in Grotto Falls. By the time I got back to the parking lot it was beginning to get dark and we had covered less than half the length of the trail. Unfortunately we didn’t get to stop at the Roaring Fork Historic District to look at the old cabins, barns and working tub mills that have been preserved and restored nor “The Place of a Thousand Drips” where there are many small waterfalls coming from the rocks. At the end of the Nature Trail you enter the real world again of Gatlinburg. Roaring Fork is worth returning to and spending a more leisurely visit.

The drive back to Townsend was through the bumper to bumper traffic that started at the exit from the park and continued through Pigeon Forge. We got back to Winnie long after dark. Tremont has a Halloween decoration contest every year and most of the displays are lighted. I strolled around the campground and got some pictures of the decorations. A few of the guests go all out as there is apparently a prize of 2 free days for the best decorated site. We didn’t decorate at Tremont, but wait until you see Winnie at River Plantation all decked out for Halloween.

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