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Gatlinburg-ish, Day 2

The view from the Chimney Tops overlook in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Today started off with rain. Thunderstorms moved in and around Gatlinburg until about lunch, so we took it easy at our rental house with the whole crew. My sister-and-law and her family hung out with us and we had sandwiches while the weather took its course. As everything tapered off to a trickle we decided to take a chance heading to some scenic views and gentle hikes. And wouldn't you know, the sun favored us when we needed it. The Chimney Tops picnic area and nearby Chimney Tops overlook were just gorgeous, with sun dappling the the northern slopes of the mountain itself.

We followed up the scenery with the shortest hike I’ve ever done, a mere 0.1 miles, to Cataract Falls. It was pretty nice, but nothing to write home about. I needed to fuel up the Honda after the waterfall, and Gatlinburg stood between me and every nearby gas station.

THE TRAFFIC in Gatlinburg is otherworldly slow. I don't understand how so many cars move through this otherwise rural, mountain tourist town. I think it took us 14 minutes to drive 1 mile? My sister-in-law suggested they just shut down the main drag to vehicle traffic and have folks drive on a bypass instead. Can't say I disagree.

With fresh fuel, we really just needed to head home and feed the kids. It was a simple day, but it was ultimately a pleasant one. And the back porch vista upon our return gave us layers of fog and clouds weaving between the distant trees and ridges.

I'm pretty sure that distant ridge is the Greenbrier Pinnacle to the south of our rental house.