Monday, January 03, 2011

Great Smoky Mountain National Park outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Near Gatlinburg, Tennessee,  you can visit the Great Smokies and relish the beauty of its landscape.  The Smokies' smoke & their amazing array of creeks and cascades are the result of mountains and moisture.  The Smokies are the largest mountains east of the Rocky Mountains.  Sixteen of the peaks in the Smokies are more than 6,000 feet high. 

When you walk along the top of the Smokies, you are on one of the highest paths in the eastern United States-- more than a mile above sea level.  The higher slopes of the Smokies get as much as 100 inches of rain each year, more than any other part of the U.S. other than the Pacific Northwest..  The lower elevations average at least 50 inches a year of rain.  Much of the water is absorbed by the forest floor & is needed by the Smokies' vegetation to grow some of the biggest trees in the World. 

If you want to know what causes the "smoky" appearance of the Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, I will tell you.  The Smokies' generous rainful helps cause its famous "smoke."  Trees not only take in water through their roots; they give off moisture through their leaves.  The Great Smokies' forest is so large, and many of the forest trees are so big, that the total "transpiration" of moisture can actually form clouds.  This tree moisture, along with the already moist air and occasional air pollution produce the "smoke."  This is a visual effect of a sort of steamroom or "wet" sauna for trees.

Remember, to bring your camera, when travelling through the Smoky Mountains.  The drive is beautiful, but no words can match the views obtained by hiking (and walking) alone.  You can take in different sights, through the sensual bliss of the Park.  These sights include white-water creeks, mesmerizing cascades, waterfalls, rhododendrons, giant hemlocks, caves, rock formations, and scenic mountain peaks throughout the Park. 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is an old hiking post that has been converted into a town that flourishes with tourism annually in East Tennessee.  After Light #10 (the end or Southern side of Gatlinburg), you can visit the Sugarland Vistors Center which is serviced by the Park Rangers to inform its visitors.  They can give you information about roadways, animals, bird-watching, picnic areas, and walking trails.  It's a good place to stretch, rest, get educated about the Park, and plan your day in the Great Smokies.  See you there!

No comments: