I lift up my eyes to the mountains -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Thursday morning dawns bright and clear, and all three of us are pumped for the day's adventures ahead. After a hasty breakfast, it's back to the car to head for Bryson City, and the "back" entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains Park at Deep Creek. Danny and I, of course, have been to this locale multiple times, but witnessing granddaughter, Virginia Rose's, joyful reaction to it all is like seeing it for the very first time.
Tom Branch Falls - Beautiful!
Virginia and a new-found friend enjoying the falls.
Nothing more fun than hurling rocks into the stream!
Next, we head back to Bryson City to grab lunch at the Everett Street Diner, a down-home restaurant with great food and friendly service. Even the owner pays a visit to each and every table. No photos other than this one of Virginia indulging in a Pepsi -
but since I've mentioned this diner in Adventures in The Glade, I engage in conversation with the owner, and gift him with some bookmarks to pass out to his restaurant staff. He is delighted!
Fueled and fired up, we are ready for the fairly long trek to Clingman's Dome, the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Standing at 6,643' above sea level, the ride up to the top is a never-ending ascent of exciting and scenic twists and turns, not to mention another bout with ear popping for all of us. Just look at those views!
There is a side trail that few people take when visiting Clingman's Dome, but Danny eagerly leads Virginia on a part of it; it's too long, and too cold, to even think about walking the entire length. Here are some photos they shoot in front of an ancient rock that reminds us of the Easter Island statues.
Back up in the parking lot, Virginia can't resist climbing, and posing, on more rocks!
What a ham she is!
With winds whipping and an unheard-of June temperature of 48, we soon decide it's high time to return to the car, and head back to the cabin. We enjoy again every vista we pass along the way accompanied by a continuous chorus of "wows" from Virginia at the breathtaking views.
Just when we think we've seen it all, cars slow down, and we behold this majestic creature.
Yes, it's an elk, high up on the ridge of Clingman's Dome! Truly, it's the last place we would expect to find one, as they usually congregate in the valleys, so we are thrilled and thankful for this unexpected treat.
And if that sighting isn't enough, spotting these on our way out of the park is icing on the cake!
Mid-afternoon, and we are back in our cabin, lifting our eyes to the mountains once again, and praising God for all He has blessed us with this day.