Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Today was such a beautiful day that I figured I'd take a ride through the mountains.  I haven't been on the Cherohala Skyway in a long time or the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in an even longer time.  I threw a jacket into a saddle bag and took off on the bike.
The skyway starts in the town of Tellico Plains, Tennessee and ends in the town of Robinsville, North Carolina.  What a road.  It winds over the top of some of the wildest places left in the Eastern part of the country.
When I lived in Greenback, Tennessee I would run over this skyway at least once every week.  It was literally at my back door.  What a great little town to live in!
Most all of these shots were taken into the sun which eliminates any chances of catching the blue sky but, the mountains were beautiful anyway.  It seems I could see forever.  Thank heavens folks saw the importance of keeping these beautiful mountains out of the hands of real estate companies.  The local government where I live now sold the farm and there's no wild places left except near the lakes and rivers and even the land along those waterway is all private property.   A shame...
I've been running over these mountains for more years than I care to remember and I always have the thoughts of the first white man hiking through this enormous country.  They must have labored endlessly searching for ways to cross these formidable mountains.  The Indians surely had their work cut out for them just living in them.  It's easy to understand why the Cherokee Indians fought so hard to keep their land and equally as easy to understand why the white man struggled so hard to find ways to trick the Indians out of it.  In the end he simply took the land by force.  I photographed a sign that explains a bit of history.  It was set on a post at an angle and I had to take two shots to get the story.
I guess the acquisition of all this land from the Cherokees by force was a legal action back then.  I wonder about that.
I didn't bring the big camera with me today as it makes me nervous carrying it on the bike.  The motorcycle has some vibration that courses through the length of it and I don't want to subject that expensive camera to it.  The vibration isn't bad at all and it's subdued but, I just don't trust the delicate camera, which is in reality a computer, to any jolts and jostles.  

I did what I could to save the sky but, a lot of pictures show the sky as white and washed out.  There's nothing to be done about it.

It was really chilly up here and I dug the jacket out of the saddle bag.  The weather was perfect.

The real way to photograph these mountains is to do it from the trail.  One should get right out in them on foot for at least a month and live the experience.  It's been a long time since I've seriously been on the trails.

So, I like butterflies.
I like bees too.

The finest roads in the world run through these mountains.
A bike crash was on the left side of the road and a woman was being consoled by her husband as they sat on the wooden guard rail.  Her face was totally covered in blood.  I stopped and asked if they needed anything and he replied they had it all under control.  They had a couple friends with them to help.  An ambulance could be heard coming up the road as I left.  Gotta know your limitations on a motorcycle up here on these curvy roads.

I came off the skyway at Robinsville and rode to and through the Indian Reservation at Cherokee, North Carolina to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  The scenery was much the same as on the skyway except that the mountain range in the park does not follow a straight line but, bends in many directions forming many deep valleys and high meadows.  The mountains have distinct spectacular peaks that can be seen from the motor road.  

OK, OK - no more butterflies.  Promise...

Well, that's my lackluster day.  Just a ride in the mountains.  Don't believe it.  I know how fortunate I am to be able to do things like this.  
I've got a strong desire to take the Gheenoe to the river tomorrow for some wildlife searching.  I may even take along my fishing gear to kill even more precious time.  See ya then.  Oh, hope you didn't get bored looking at all the mountain pictures.  I certainly didn't get bored taking them.