“Smoky” Mountains, indeed!

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This is the view from Clingman’s Dome when it’s surrounded in clouds. Quite different from our visit just 3 days prior, which can be viewed here and here!

As I mentioned in my previous post, our original plan was to turn north toward home this Thursday morning, but Terry thought we’d enjoy one more trip up to a high peak. None of us objected! We saw some clouds winding through the mountains when we left the hotel; however, we had no idea Clingman’s Dome would be entirely smothered. We’re clearly not accustomed to mountain-terrain weather patterns.

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When we visited Clingman’s Dome on Monday, we had already hiked several mountainous miles, and were too exhausted to climb the incredibly-steep half-mile trail to the peak. Although we couldn’t see the amazing views we had anticipated, we still hiked up and up.

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The air was thick with moisture.

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We stopped frequently on our trek upward so that I could catch my breath capture some more poignant photographs:)

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We purchased these fancy hiking sticks from the park store. One was a gift for Papa in thanks for minding the pets while we were gone, but we figured he wouldn’t mind us “trying it out.”

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This is the observation tower, where 360* views are acclaimed.

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Up again, into thicker and thicker clouds.

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Clingman’s Dome Trail stats
Trail Features: Great views
Roundtrip Miles: 1 mile
Total Elevation Gain: 350 feet
Highest Elevation: 6643 feet
Trail Caution: Steep
Road to dome is closed in winter.

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We made it to the top!

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Apparently these are the mountain peaks we would have seen, had clouds not surrounded us.

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Sorta anticlimactic and dreary.

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Now, back down.

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We discovered that another portion of the Appalachian Trail meets this trail to the Clingman’s Dome observation tower. [We had visited a different portion of the AT on Monday.]

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Becca was sure to use Papa’s hiking stick as she walked a bit down the Appalachian Trail from this junction, so she could proclaim to Papa the significant places his hiking stick had hiked.

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On downward. At least this direction was easier to walk!

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What it could have looked like:)

Nevertheless, we are glad that we conquered the Clingman’s Dome peak. One day, I pray we can return in clear skies!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingman’s Dome in NC


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