Monday, July 27, 2009

day 50, Tennessee, USA

It's Day 50!!
Goodbye Florida, Hello Tennessee

Wait, what's that tower protruding from the trees..??

We have to stop.....we are flying over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!!
Yes, we could hike a Smoky Mountain Bald; or fish for trout or explore pioneer history or find wildflowers or backpack along the Appalachian Trail or camp off the beaten path but that tower has simply fascinated us so we are going in search of it.
Aaah, we are going to Clingmans Dome.

The Great Smoky Mountains, the majestic climax of the Appalachian Highlands, are a wildlands sanctuary preserving the world's finest examples of temperate deciduous forest; and this UNESCO world heritage site boasts unspoiled forests similar to those the early settlers found.

Did You Know that about 100 native tree species make their home in Great Smoky Mountains National Park-more than in all of northern Europe.

The park also contains one of the largest blocks of old-growth temperate deciduous forest in North America.

At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee.

The cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome's summit make it a coniferous rainforest. Unfortunately, pests, disease, and environmental degradation threaten the unique and fragile spruce-fir forest. Dead trunks litter the area, and dying trees struggle to survive another year.

Clouds, precipitation, and cold temperatures are common at Clingmans Dome. Temperatures at the dome can be 10 -20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the surrounding lowlands, so we dressed in layers before embarking on the steep half-mile paved trail that leads from the car to the 54-foot observation tower.

Wow, vistas from Clingmans Dome are spectacular.

We are really lucky to have a clear sunshiny day...and we can see over 100 miles and into seven states.
The beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is displayed in its awesome waterfalls, cool mountain rivers, wildflowers, floral and fauna, and the glory of fall as the tree leaves change to brilliant colors of red, orange, and gold.
Feroz is whistling this awesome tune as we leave this great UNESCO site for the next........
What are you counting Marti??
The number of states that we have travelled through in the USA.......

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