We arrived at out camp out on Sunday. Monday morning we went out for breakfast and then headed for Cades Cove. http://www.visitcadescove.com/
Even though we had been to this place before, it had been at least six years so just to be on the safe side, my son brought up directions on his phone and off we set. We were leaving out early enough that traffic wasn’t too terribly heavy and got lighter once we were off the main thoroughfare and on the country roads. My son’s only comment was that he had forgotten just how far out it was. Eventually we caught up with some slower moving traffic and the fact that the road was seemingly a major mass of blind curves everyone was stuck as part of the parade. I managed to allow us to miss the last turn, which earned me a “thanks mom” but it was an easy fix thankfully. I don’t recall signing on as navigator anyway. But we were there.
The first animals seen are horses in a pasture immediately beyond the welcome spot. We stopped, my son got out and greeted the horses, I took a couple photos and we were off and moving again. They were getting ready to do some work in the area, repaving the road from the looks of things. The cement barriers that signal you’ve reached the end of the parking space had all been moved back. A couple areas were closed off to visitors as well. Even the trail to the waterfall was closed for maintenance. My son had already told me he didn’t feel like taking that hike anyway. I laughed and told him what I had done the night before. It seemed that I had just finally drifted off to sleep when I was wide awake thinking ‘bears’. I forgot my bear repellent. Yes, I do have bear repellent and yes, I had forgotten it at home. For some reason it seemed very important that we not hike that trail. The fact it was closed made that easier. Now of course my son was laughing at me, but I think it made him feel less disappointed for me.
We both watched the sides of the road, across the fields and into the woods carefully as we drove. We saw plenty of don’t feed the bears and stay fifty yards back from wildlife but no real wild life. No bears. No deer. We did see a turkey. I did take a few landscape shots but nowhere near what I have done in the past. Part of me wanted to get out and hike trails, but…bears. Maybe. My dream, is to at some point get up there during the Autumn season when the leaves are changing. I can only imagine how glorious that sight can be. As we were driving around, we pulled off at one of the historical sites and were walking around. It was an old homestead site. A house and various outbuildings. As we were preparing to get back into the car my son watched as cars drove past. He chuckled and made a comment about the driver of one car looking very unimpressed. And so many Jeeps. Which I will share about in another blog.
What impresses me, is that we still have places such as this. We have areas of history and nature. We have places were we can visit and find the peace that lives within.
Cades Cove is not a fancy, elaborate, showy place. It is natural. It is serene. It is a place where you can look out across a field at the mountains in the distance and imagine the thoughts of the first settlers. Where the wildflowers grow tall and thick, and butterfly dance among the blooms. Where the quiet eases the mind and heals the soul. While there was some disappointment that we didn’t see any large land mammals, I was not horribly disappointed. Thanks to my son and the Good Lord, I had been able to return to an area I had been missing. A place I hadn’t been since my husband passed. I was and am happy and content…and I didn’t feed any bears.