While Winter conjures up images of pristine white snow, Summer of bright sun and Spring of colorful wild flowers, Fall brings to life the colorful leaves – yellow, golden orange, red, pink and the various earthy shades. Based on color alone, if I have to pick a season, it would most definitely be Fall as I am a sucker for earthy tones. If I had a choice (and people around me agreed), I will live in a orange-rust world… Well, but we do not live in a perfect world, do we? 🙂
K and I have been planning to go to the East Coast and Blue Ridge Parkway every fall for the past few years and for a myriad reasons, it never happened. Finally this year, everything fell in place and we made the trek. We landed in Charlotte and after a quick visit to K’s alma mater, drove to the Smokies. It was breath-takingly beautiful and sitting right outside this park is the city of Gatlinburg, which was everything the park was not, to put it mildly.
Gatlinburg is a shock to the system from whichever angle you survey it, but never more so than when you descend upon it from a spell of moist, grubby isolation in the woods. It sits just outside the main entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and specializes in providing all those things that the park does not– principally, slurpy food, motels, gift shops, and sidewalks on which to waddle and dawdle–nearly all of it strewn along a single, astoundingly ugly main street. For years it has prospered on the confident understanding that when Americans load up their cars and drive enormous distances to a setting of rare natural splendor what most of them want when they get there is to play a little miniature golf and eat dribbly food. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular national park in America, but Gatlinburg–this is so unbelievable–is more popular than the park.
So Gatlinburg is appalling…
Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods
After recovering from the shock that was Gatlinburg, we finished our hurried trip of the Smokies and started doing what we came here to – driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We experienced clear blue sky, dark clouds of an impending storm, fog & rain – all in a matter of 2 days. While I was initially worried that weather may play spoil sport, we enjoyed the trip not in spite of, but due to the weather. Words fall short of explaining the beauty of the place, so I am leaving you with a few pictures, as always taken by K.
The trip was supposed to end @ Shenandoah National Park with Laksh and family visiting us. But to know what happened, you will have to go here. And that was how I spent the last week. How was your week?