|On Monday we drove into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This park has the greatest diversity of wildlife and trees in the United States. We went into the visitor's center and watched a movie highlighting the beauty of the park with many aerial views. The museum showed the great numbers of animals, insects, plants and trees that live in the mountains. Some that thrive here are not found any place else in the United States.
Some of the wild flowers were in full bloom as you can see in the picture posted of the iris. There were beautiful Trilliums in white, yellow and pink. We saw 2 Jack in the Pulpit, which is pretty rare in Virginia and many other flowers that I cannot name. The forest is covered with Rhodendron but they are not in bloom yet. They will be spectacular later on. Many of the rocks and boulders in and near the streams were covered in beautiful moss. The streams were clear and running fast. We drove the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. On that trail, we saw a couple of old farmsteads from the 1800s. One was the Ephraim Bales Cabin. See the photo of the cabin. Mr Bales owned 72 acres of land, but only farmed 30 of the acres. The rest was left as forest. That small cabin was home to him and his wife and 9 children. It was quite small and had only 2 rooms. I cannot imagine how this family survived in the wilderness and managed to make a living with only 30 acres of hilly, rocky land on which to grow their crops. The only wild life we saw was one large tom turkey.
After lunch we went to Dollywood for the afternoon. We saw three shows and enjoyed each one. It was pretty warm with temps today in the middle 80s and little to no breeze. All in all it has been a great day. Tomorrow we head to southern Illinois. Lets hope we do not run into any of the storms pounding the midwest.
Have a great evening. Talk with you again soon.