Tag Archives: Cades Cove

Cades Cove, Part 2

After a cold and dreary morning, 29 degrees and foggy, we decided to head back up to Cades Cove today to continue our exploration. The forecast promised sunshine and warmer temperatures. We were hoping the weather folks were right.

IMG_1498By the time we finished with breakfast, loaded up the car and headed out, Mr Sunshine was breaking through and the temperature was approaching 40 degrees. We were dressed in layers so we were ready for cooler or warmer temperatures.

We had a pleasant drive up to Cades Cove. The forest looked different this time since there was a light dusting of snow in places where the sun does not normally shine. Beautiful blue skies and cool temperatures greeted us as we entered the cove. We drove past John Oliver’s place and traffic started stacking up in spots. It became apparent that the visitors today did not pay attention to the rule of not stopping on the road way. Every place we ran into congestion on the road, people had stopped to take pictures of the deer grazing in the fields. It took us about 30 minutes to cover about 5 miles to get the back to back where we ended our last exploration.

John Cable bought land in the cove in the late 1860’s. He built a water powered grist mill and saw mill in the late 1870’s. The grist mill is still in operation today. Visitors can purchase corn meal ground on John Cable’s grist mill.

DSC_0691Beyond the grist mill, there is a functional blacksmith shop, a cane mill and sorghum furnace and a cantilever barn that houses a left over carriage.


DSC_0689Visitors can also purchase fresh made sorghum molasses made right on the spot.

DSC_0697After a short break we headed down Forge Creek Road looking for Henry Whitehead’s Place. The smaller cabin in the back was the original cabin where Matilda Shield Gregory lived with her son after her husband abandoned her. She met and later married Henry Whitehead. Henry’s wife died and left him with three daughters. After the marriage, Henry built the larger cabin where they then lived.

DSC_0703Carol and I are standing on the front porch just as Henry and Matilda may have done many years before.

DSC_0705Inside the larger cabin was a narrow staircase that led to an upstairs loft. This area was large enough for Henry and Matilda and their 4 children to sleep.

DSC_0712It was getting late so we decided to end our exploration and head back to Townsend. I did want to make a short stop for a water fall on Mill Creek, which by the way runs to John Cables Grist Mill.

DSC_0716OK, now we are headed out and back to Townsend. Traffic was pretty heavy coming out of Cades Cove. We were about half way down the mountain when we saw lots of traffic stopped on the road. We eased our way through and discovered a large crowd of people on the side of the road looking at something off the road. As we drove past, we realized they had spotted a black bear momma and her three cubs. I pulled over to join the crowd. Momma bear was not interested in the crowd so she led her cubs up the mountain. Unfortunately I never had a clear shot with my camera so I have no photo to post.

About 1/4 mile from our campground, I did spot this Great Blue Heron in the middle of Little River. She was posing for me so I stopped and took her photo.

DSC_0735After an early supper at Trailhead Steak House in Townsend. This was our second trip there so you know the food was good.

There is plenty of exploring in Codes Cove for us to go back a couple of more times. What an amazing lace. Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

Cades Cove Part 1

Cades Cove is the single most popular place for visitors to the Greater Smoky Mountain National Forest. We are fortunate to live about 11 miles, or a short 40 minute drive, away. This gives us an opportunity to explore the details of this beautiful place. Thursday 11/21 was our second trip to Cades Cove. We first drove through the cove on Wednesday 11/13 and realized it is not possible to see all that Cades Cove has to offer with a single day trip.

Cades CoveWhen we were in Blue Ridge, GA during the summer of 2012, we drove past Tremont Outdoor Resort taking the left fork onto Old State Highway 73 (Little River Road) towards Gaitlinburg. This time we took the right fork onto Laurel Creek Road. The first stop on the side of the road was to capture the beauty of Little River West Prong.

Little River West ProngOne can only imagine the water flow through here in the Spring, The large retaining wall on the left photo protects the road way from washout. Continuing the drive to Cades Cove, we came across a section of the Smoky Mountain where a large number of trees had been pushed over by a violent wind storm that blew through the area a couple of years ago. It appears the wind came over the top of the mountains, then pushed down into the valley. It is sad to see these beautiful trees laying on the ground in defeat of the wrath of nature. You will notice the tress are pointing down-hill indicating the wind direction came from above.

DSCN0511Our climb into Cades cove peaked at 2012 feet (according to our GPS). That makes the trip a climb of about 1,000 feet from Townsend. Just beyond the peak is the entrance to Cades Cove. We stopped at the visitors center to pick up an information brochure that included a map of the park. You can read more about the history of Cades Cove by clicking here.

The main loop through Cades Cove covers 11 miles. The map below shows the loop and highlights stops along the loop that should be explored.

cadescove-loop-mapSparks Lane has been part of Cades Cove since 1840. Other than offering a different perspective of the cove, it offers a means of crossing the cove. John Oliver’s cabin is the first stop on the loop. This is one of over 80 historic buildings in Cades Cove and provides  visitors a glimpse of life in the 1800’s. John Oliver most likely cut the trees needed for his cabin with an axe. After cutting the logs to length he notched the ends so the logs could rest one on another and remain in place without additional fasteners. The cabin remained in the Oliver family until the Great Smoky National Forest was established in 1934. John and his wife are buried at the Primitive Baptist Church. This is a view of John Oliver’s cabin as it is approached from the loop.

DSC_0614On my first trip to Cades Cove, I did not venture into the cabin. That will come later. You can see the logs were squared up a bit and the mud between the logs is in place to keep out the cold winter winds. I will post additional photos of this cabin on a later visit. The following photo is the view John Oliver’s family saw as they left their cabin and headed out to work their land in the morning or as they headed out for church on Sunday mornings.

DSC_0616Several early settlers established the Primitive Baptist Church in 1827. Initially they constructed a log building that served their purpose. In 1887, they constructed a new building. The church was closed during the Civil War due to the members being Union folks and most of the cove residents being Rebels. Plus, their pastor had to leave to take care of other business occasionally.

PrimitivebaptistchurchAs we stepped into the church, we could almost hear the early settlers singing Amazing Grace.

DSC_0651The metal plate on the floor was the location of a wood burning stove that provided heat for the members.

We found this interesting headstone of Russel Gregory who found Gregory’s Bald, elevation 4,949 feet. Mr Gregory was murdered by North Carolina Rebel fighters in 1864. We also found John Lurena Oliver’s  grave.

PBC CemeteryThe Methodist Church is stop number 4 on the loop. This small congregation established in the 1820’s and met in a log building until this current building was constructed in 1902. As we approached the building, we could imagine families gathering for church and kids playing on the grounds.

DSCN0498The church looked a bit more modern than the Primitive Baptist Church. We did not notice any signs of a wood burning stove in the center of the room. Visitors leave Bibles, notes and written prayers on the altar of the churches.

DSCN0500Each church has its own cemetery. This headstone caught my attention. I was saddened to see that the Hill family lost three sons 1916, 1917 (Otis lived 6 months), and in 1918. My dad was born in 1916.

DSCN0506The Missionary Baptist Church was formed in 1839 when a group from the Primitive Baptist Church was expelled over support of mission work. The church suspended meeting during the civil war and resumed after the war with fewer members. They church closed in 1944.

DSC_0658Carol is looking through some of the items left at the altar. A wood burning stove apparently was located in the center of this building.

DSC_0659Just across the street from the Missionary Baptist Church is a one way road that exits Cades Cove and leads to Tuckaleechee Cove which is where Townsend is located. Unfortunately, this road is closed during the winter months.

We skipped past the Copper Road Trail. This is a 4.3 mile hike to Abrams Creek Camp Ground. For hikers who enjoy primitive camping, this trail if for you.

Last stop for the day was Elijah Oliver’s Place. I left Carol in the car and took off on a short .4 mile hike. Elijah Oliver is the son of John Oliver. He left the cove with his family before the civil war but return after the war. This homestead is a sample of the complexity of life in the late 1800’s.

DSC_0672This photo shows the main house that was built on a rock foundation. The gray boards on the left was an area of the front porch that was closed in to make a guest room for travelers who would travel through the area. To the right, is a kitchen. The main room consisted of a large fire-place.

DSC_0676A spring house is behind the house. Through ingenuous design, water runoff from the mountain was captured in the spring house. This small building was used to store products that needed to be kept cool. The water collected in a log basin that was had cut from a single tree. To keep the basin from overflowing, water flowed out of the basin by way of tree branches that were slotted and stacked.

springhouseAfter exploring Elijah Oliver’s place, I was tired and the day was just about over. We stopped at the Cable Mill Area Visitors Center. On the next trip to Cades Cove, we will cover more of the structures of Cades Cove and may even venture off to a water fall or two. Until then, I leave you to enjoy this panorama of one small section of Cades Cove.


Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.

Winter Home

Good News! We have a winter home that will extend into Spring 2014. While we wanted to head west, we are headed east. We will be wintering at Tremont Outdoor Resort in Townsend, Tennessee.

Tremont-FBThey are close to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Dollywood, Cades Cove, TN and our friends at Windy Valley Llamas in Blue Ridge, GA. When we left Blue Ridge in September 2012, we were warned that the Blue Ridge Mountains will call us back. Sure enough they have called us back to the area. We will also be close to my friend Becky in Piney Flats, TN.

We were thinking about heading west to Albuquerque, NM. We would make our arrival there just in time for the Hot Air Balloon Festival. Specifically, we were considering American RV Park, on I-40 just west of  Albuquerque. The following images from Google Maps makes it is easy to see the difference between the Desert Southwest and the Smoky Mountains. I-40 in Albuquerque will have significantly more traffic on it than TN 73 in Townsend. Plus we have more exploring to do in the Smokey Mountains.

American RV - TremontWe will finish up our work at Mark Twain Landing in Monroe City, MO around the middle of September. Our first stop will be the HWH Corporation in Moscow, IA where we will have the hydraulic levers on our motor home repaired.  From there, we will spend a couple of nights in Springfield, Ill to see the Abraham Lincoln Museum, Indianapolis, IN for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Louisville, KY for a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum, Knoxville, TN, Blue Ridge, GA, then back north to our winter home. Nothing is firm on the trip just yet so anything can change along the way.

TripThat’s it for this time. Thanks for stopping by, Y’all come back now.