Friday, October 11, 2013

Journey into the National Park

This past weekend, Jay & I headed into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see if the place was shut up as tightly as the news would have us believe.  We kept everything legal, staying on the roads officially open. 

In our park, there are 3 roads considered major thoroughfares that are not to be closed:
  1. The Spur - the connector road between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg
  2. The Gatlinburg bypass
  3. Newfound Gap Road - connecting Gatlinburg and Cherokee, NC
We'd heard that even the pull-offs were closed.  On the TN side, that simply wasn't the case.  We had dinner last night with a couple who went on through to Cherokee, North Carolina and said the NC side was noticeably different from Tennessee.
That being said...erm...written, the trail heads (and their parking lots) were blocked off.  Including Chimney Tops & Alum Cave.  However we saw several different instances of people who decided to shout "Damn the Man!" with their actions.
Others made their protests a little less punishable by fine, opting with legal pictures and #governmentshutdown hash tags.
For the permanent enjoyment of the people - this park was given...
I was most surprised at the open parking lot when we got to Newfound Gap.  The lot was full, with people walking around enjoying the views.  Surprised again by the open restroom facilities, but not surprised at all by the "open" donation box.

We saw rangers in the general area, but they were far from harassing (as we've heard about in other parks).  I appreciate they have a job to do, and the respectfulness we found in our encounter.

Delayed response sounds better than no response!

With the changing of the colors, I'm very thankful to have at least a portion of the park open for our enjoyment!


  1. Good job government. They are so good at running our country.

  2. I understand closing some things in the government during this time, but closing off parts of roads and turnouts is ridiculous! Glad you got to enjoy some of the park.

  3. That park is one of my favorite places ever. We haven't been there in quite a few years though. You are so lucky to live so close. Glad it isn't totally closed off.

  4. I'm so glad you're able to enjoy some of your park! What about where you got married?

    1. unfortunately its closed :( they better get things running by the 8th of next month. don't want to be shut out of an anniversary trip!

  5. I am so mad they closed any part of the park. I am also grateful I am not vacationing at this time, because it's not a trip without Cades Cove. My ancestors would be disgusted by this crap.

    1. agreed! jay was part of a protest last weekend on behalf of the people who use to live there. they left the land with the understanding their families would always have access to the land via the park. the government is not living up to their end of the bargain!