Cades Cove Loop Road Closed… But for How Long?

A deer jam occurs when motorists on the Cades Cove Loop road stop in the middle of the road instead of using one of the numerous pull off areas available.

I have noticed that over the past few days one of the keywords that is still driving people to this blog is Cades Cove.  Living in East Tennessee, I am very fortunate to live so close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Cades Cove, a very popular spot in the Smokys, was slated to have the loop road resurfaced from March 1 – May 21, 2010.  Trails affected by this closure are Abrams Falls, Cooper Road, Gregory Bald, Gregory Ridge, Hannah Mountain, Indian Grave, and Rabbit Creek trails. The campground, the campground store, the picnic area, and the horseback riding stables will remain open, though bicycle rentals will not be available. (The store and stables don’t open until April 1st.) The last time Cades Cove Loop road was repaved was 1978… over 30 years ago.  It is in bad need of repair and truthfully needs to be wider and marked better for pull over spots. You can read more about the scheduled work at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cades-cove-road-improvement.htm.

This work was to be completed under a Highway Trust Fund.  Today was supposed to be the first day the road was completely closed to traffic so workers could being work on it.  However, there is a funding shortfall as a result of KY Senator Jim Bunning who blocked legislation last week that included the Highway Trust Fund.  Thus, there was an ordered furlough today of over 2,000 federal employees… including the federal inspectors that are overseeing the Cades Cove Loop repaving. No inspectors… no work can be done. So while today was supposed to be the first full day of work on the Cades Cove Loop road, the work has stopped and the road remains closed.  I just gotta wonder how long this funding issue will keep the road closed.  Hopefully we don’t have another Road to Nowhere brewing. Cades Cove is just too popular to be left closed.  In the meantime, enjoy this nice picture of a deer and the traffic that goes along with it.

EDIT: The bill passed the next day and work resumed on March 3. Hopefully the work can still be completed by May 21, 2010 if not sooner.

A deer jam occurs when motorists on the Cades Cove Loop road stop in the middle of the road instead of using one of the numerous pull off areas available.
A deer jam occurs when motorists on the Cades Cove Loop road stop in the middle of the road instead of using one of the numerous pull off areas available.

Random Trip to Foothills Parkway, Cades Cove, and The Sinks

You may remember that a couple of my previous posts had pictures, but now they are gone. This is because I just wasn’t happy with the new built in WordPress Image Gallery. So instead I have removed them and placed a link to their appropriate album in my Gallery, as does that link. I might come back to it later, but there are some things that desperately need to be fixed before I do. Anyways, now on with the post.

This past weekend, I had some free time on Saturday morning, so I decided I was going to start it off real early and make some photographs just for the fun of it. It had rained the night before and wasn’t supposed to rain on Saturday, which means the day will be pretty clear. My first destination was the Miller’s Cove Overlook on Foothills Parkway West (the road up to Look Rock). Miller’s Cove is the first overlook you come to, so it really isn’t that far of a drive from Knoxville. I got there around 5:30 and just kind of waited. About 10 minutes before sunrise, a group of about 8 people on a workshop showed up as well. One of the first shots I got before they showed up, happens to be one of my more favorite shots from all day. It may be a dark picture, but that’s part of what I like about it. The next picture is one of the better sunrise shots. There really wasn’t a whole lot of red in the sky that morning, so I really had to push it to get this picture.
Miller's Cove before Sunrise
Miller's Cove Sunrise

After that, I headed into Cades Cove. Cades Cove is one of those place that I usually prefer to go to either really early in the day or really late at night. If you go outside of those times, you are probably going to be stuck in a traffic jam that rivals some of the worst traffic jams in Knoxville. The cause of these traffic jams are often stupidity with a side of selfishness. Cades Cove is an 11 mile loop that once you get on, is difficult to get off. If people would just follow the rules, it wouldn’t be so bad. The main rule is, don’t stop in the middle of the road, use pull-offs. There are lots of pull offs to accommodate people, but they seldom use them. Instead they stop in the middle of the road and it is usually to take a picture of a deer. Deer are really abundant in Cades Cove, so you can just imagine how this is. The two things that really get me is people who stop in the middle of the road when there is a pull-off 10 feet in front of them and those that stop in the middle of the road and use the pull-off to take their picture. Anyways, enough with my Cades Cove rant. I got there just before 8:00 and wanted to get my pictures in while the light was still good. They were all typical shots that I’m happy with, but I’ll get better shots on a different day.

This next image is definitely a place I will go back to in the fall. I’m happy with the shot as it is, but I’m certain it will look 20 times better with the fall colors. It’s also an area of the park that really doesn’t get busy like Cades Cove does. To get here, you turn down the road that heads to Tremont.
Little River

Meigs FallsThe last picture in this post is Meigs Falls. Its almost kind of sad how many times I’ve past this and never noticed it. It on Little River Road between the Townsend Y and Elkmont. After going to Tremont, I decided that I would have enough time to go to the Sinks. We had scheduled a band practice for later that day, so I wanted to get home in enough time to load up the musical gear and clean up beforehand. On my way to the sinks, I saw this waterfall and even though the light wasn’t the best, I decided to photograph it anyways. I later looked it up and found out it is called Meigs Falls. It’s so far off to the road, it is kind of easy to miss (especially when you are paying attention to the curves in the road). I have a Nature and Travel Field trip on Sunday afternoon, and we are probably going to stop here.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Nature and Travel Photography Assignment 1

I should have posted this last week, but I got kind of busy with the baby day stuff at Laurel, so I didn’t get around to it. In the meantime, I upgraded WordPress to 2.5, which includes a photo gallery. Previously I had experimented with using a plug-in called WPG2. It worked good when I first installed it, but I think and upgrade to Gallery broke it and I don’t really care that much to go in and see what is going wrong.

As with most of the classes I am taking, this assignment was very informal. It was to pick a subject and photograph it many different ways. I actually picked two subjects, but that was just because they are in the same area. On April 13th, we are taking the youth group hiking. I know the Smoky Mountains the best and I am familiar with Big South Fork, but both of those areas are kind of far away and the Smoky Mountains will be crowded. I know there are hiking trails at Norris Dam State Park, so I loaded up my camera gear to run by Norris and pick up a trail map and hope there was something to photograph. In the southeastern part of the park, there is a Rice Grist Mill and the Crosby Threshing Barn in the same area. I chose these as my subjects. Also that weekend, I had a 40D we had modified to make it sensitive to infrared. I’m still trying to learn infrared. These were my first attempts. It was very cloudy and overcast that day, so the infrared pictures aren’t quite as good as they could have been.

Well, I’ve decided I’m not happy with the WordPress Gallery, so I’ve removed the pictures and instead will give you a link to it in my gallery.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Contemporary Art Assignment 4

The Nature shooting assignment is wide open for you to bring in any landscape/nature images. You are also welcome to develop an idea based on the Nature photographers that we discussed.

The first three images you will see are Panoramas that I have created in the past. The first is from the Brown’s cabin in North Carolina, the second is at the Grand Canyon, and the third is from Cataloochee. The next two are also from Cataloochee. The final two are from Norris Dam State Park. Unfortunately, this weekend isn’t the best weekend to do this assignment because of weather, but as you can see from the last two images, sometimes you just have to make do with what you’ve got.

Assignment 4

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,