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Missionary Baptist Church - Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains National ParkMy wife, Brooke, and I absolutely love going into Cades Cove within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is hands down our favorite place within the Smokies – so much so that we got married there in the Missionary Baptist Church.

It had been a while since we traveled into Cades Cove, so we decided to go for a trip and take advantage of the fall colors. Brooke is also training for a half marathon and she figured there couldn’t possibly be a more scenic training run than the eleven mile Cades Cove Loop! As we drove into Cades Cove we passed through a section of heavily wooded hardwood trees that were some of the most spectacular shades of yellow I have ever seen. I remarked to Brooke that we have to stop by on the way back to get some pictures. Our plan was for me to drop her off right at the gate so she could start her run and have a good indication of the distance she had ran. She told me to set the odometer and drive exactly 10 miles so she could time herself on her run. With this setup it was assumed that I could drive the eleven mile loop faster than she could run it….We were wrong!

Cades Cove - Sparks Lane - horse in the pastureWith traffic in Cades Cove heavy due to the peak leaf season, I drove around and stopped several places to take photos and enjoy the scenery. I couldn’t pull off and travel on Sparks Lane or Hyatt Lane (which we usually do) because it would have made the mileage wrong for her run. I just couldn’t resist though, so I pulled off on Sparks Lane briefly and saw some horses in the pasture that I thought would make a good photo. It made me sit back and think what it was like for the early pioneers in Cades Cove and how they tilled the land and the livestock they raised. I have read several books on Cades Cove and each one makes me more and more fascinated with the area. After calculating the short detour into my odometer calculation I headed back on the main Loop. I was thinking that at some point either Brooke would pass me or I would pass Brooke. Apparently, my 10 minute or so stop on Sparks Lane was all the headstart Brooke needed to pass me up and never look back!

I stopped at several other spots on the road that had particularly good views or wildlife. Being in late October, there weren’t any bears to be seen during our visit like there usually are during the summer months. According to a park ranger they hadn’t seen any in a few weeks. The turkey were plentiful and I also saw about a dozen deer during the drive.

 Hyatt Lane - Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Copyright: Jay Fradd 2009

Overall, it was a good trip to just get away from work for a minute (and to celebrate my birthday which had occurred the day before but I was working) and reflect back on what it was like in our area over a hundred years ago. We probably missed the absolute peak leaf viewing by about a week, but the colors were still gorgeous. While showing property in Wears Valley, Norton Creek, and Cobbly Nob area this week there have been several places that were absolutely breathtaking. The wide variety of colors made it quite the sight to behold.

If you are curious to view the pictures of the trip (there are well over 100) please click the link below:

Cades Cove Fall Colors October 25, 2009

Cades Cove - Peak Leaves - Yellow