Thursday, June 19, 2014

Synchronizing in the Smokies

After a quick stop in Elko, GA for an overnight--
Does anyone know what these are?  We passed about 10 of them in a row...some type of converted school bus
A quick overnight in Elko - Twin Oaks is a small well-maintained campground we stop at on the way to Nashville.  At $19 (Passport America) it's a great quick stop right off I-75

we were on our way to the GSM National Park to see a phenomenon that occurs only there... the synchronization of thousands of fireflies.    We stayed at Elkmont Campground, in a site with a view that more than made up for having no services.
Our campsite at Elkmont

Room with a view - out the back window of Breezin'

My morning coffee spot!
 I added a second battery to Breezin' before we left and I was pleased that we made it 4 nights and still had most of our battery power left.  We were pretty conservative, using lanterns at night and it was cool enough we didn't need the overhead fan.

Thursday I took Grace and Dillon to a local boarding facility that had a fenced acre to run on, while a friend and I took an impromptu hike to Laurel Falls.  I would show you all the beautiful pictures we took at the falls but we didn't make it all the way there!  About a mile in (and the trail is only 1.3 miles long) the skies turned black and the thunder started to rumble and the lightening started.  Since we were hiking in shorts with no jackets or supplies at all (we hadn't planned on hiking) and I had my camera without a case of any kind, we turned around and headed back down to the car.  Can't believe I just admitted that :-)

Wildflowers along the trail
Early morning in the Smokies
Backpacking bear at NOC
Later in the day we took a quick trip into Gatlinburg, tourist mecca of the Smokies.  Not my kind of place, but we had a great burger and beer and there is a NOC Outdoor Store of Appalachian Trail fame,   which I had to visit (and spend a little money).

 Later that night, we walked to see the fireflies.  I wish I had the photographic skills to show them to you (I don't).  Instead I'll leave you with this link that tells more about it:  Synchronized Fireflies

I went with the idea that this would be nice to see, cute maybe.  I was wrong.  It was completely magical and something you should take the opportunity to see if you get the chance.  It only happens at the Elkmont area of the Smokies and only two weeks a year.  It was incredible!

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.  I had a book going to press (no, I'm not the author, just work for the publisher) so I spent a couple of days in Kinards, SC at a campground with 4 bars of 4G Verizon to get the final work on it done and then a night at the KOA just south of Savannah.  Would have loved to stay at Skidaway Island state park again but needed the stronger signal to finish up.

Back home in Florida....   ready to go again!

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