Trucks and other vehicles are seen entering Cades Cove to take the eleven mile long one way paved motor trail around one of the most visited places on Earth. Cades Cove is full of history, wild critters, horses, cows, old cabins and even a general store with a working grist mill. It is also the access point to most of the hiking trails in the northwest quadrant of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee side.
The mountains surrounding Cades Cove are covered with trees and reach as high as 6000 feet or more, making them among the tallest mountains in the eastern United States. The views of the cove from those lofty peaks are nothing short of breathtaking. Many campsites afford hikers serene places to get away from the city and into the deep wild back country.
Ranger Travis, Blue Team Leader with the Alcoa Ridgrunners, is the top photographer in the group. His eyes are those of an eagle. He always finds magnificent vistas of the mountains, the glittering water of the streams, and the little creatures and plants of the forest. This shot was taken as the team left the Sugarlands at the end of a Saturday excursion to listen to mountain music at the Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In this single frame, he captures the early springtime beauty of the mountains we call home. This is a cropped edit of the original image, removing excess foreground clutter and creating a panoramic view of the deep blue sky above deep green woodlands.
Maple Knobb in Maryville, Tennessee is a wonderful place that feels like the country even though it lies just outside town. It is blessed with regularly occurring sunsets of stunning proportions. This one was truly magnificent, typical of a Springtime rainy future...