Monday, August 13, 2012

15 parks in 17 days - part three

Great Smokey Mountains national park - (North Carolina/Tennessee)
Hot Springs national park - (Arkansas)

Yes, I'm still behind, so here's two together since my visit to each was pretty short.

I got up into the mountains pretty early, so they were quite, ahem, smokey.

Exiting of the Tennessee side, there's a weird town at the foot of the mountains called Gatlinburg.  It's one of the most bizarre places I've ever been to.  The highway becomes more or less a 5 mile strip mall, but instead of shops, each side of the road is endless tourist attractions.  Go-karts, roller coasters, water slides, magic shows, mini-golf, and all kinds of things.  And I'm not exaggerating... this goes on for FIVE miles.  The road was largely under construction and Iw as in a bit of a hurry, so I didn't stop to take many pictures, but here's one from the road.

Hot Springs.  This place is a tourist trap, and as a result I didn't care for it much.  It's the smallest national park, and has been essentially swallowed up by the surrounding town.  Not only does the park itself suffer from poor signage, but the baths and hotels in the area trying to advertise their own hotel springs blast you with similar signs, making it difficult to navigate, and frustrating if you're in a hurry.  Which I was.

But, me and the dog took a little time for a break and climbed Hot Springs mountain, which as quite peaceful.  This little water fountain was spitting water continuously.

Stone trenches crawled along the slopes to divert water.

I allowed Rygel to lead me off the path and straight up the trenches a few times.  Bad idea.  We got lost pretty fast because we'd essentially jump from one trail to the next without knowing it.

Eventually we made it to the top.

More soon!  Today on my list, Great Sand Dunes!!!

1 comment:

  1. Getting lots of reference photos for future paintings!