Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Sunday we left the Asheville area and headed back into the national park, this time continuing over the other side of the pass and down into Tennessee. Gigantor pulled strongly, pulling the whale up the 3000 feet or so to Newfound Pass. In tow mode I thought that the engine would provide enough resistance to keep me off the brakes for the ride down, but this was not the case. About half way down I sensed that the trailer brakes weren't right, and pulled over. Sure enough, they were smoking and stunk of burning brake pads. We sat there for almost half and hour letting them cool before descending again. While we waited we took in the view:
The rest of the way down I forced the truck into a lower gear, which helped, and although I still had to use the brakes, they did not overheat again. One of the turns was a complete 360 degree loop!

Safely down the other side, we found our campground (Greenbrier) and picked a nice spot by ourselves.

This campground is an island, bordered by a branch of the Pigeon River on one side and diversion of the same on the other. I fly-fished and caught a nice rainbow trout. Didn't have the camera with me when I caught it, though.

We also walked the bizarro town of Gatlinburg, which is the wierdest town I've ever seen. It's like someone took an entire amusment park midway and made a town out of it. There's T-shirt shops, old-timey photo places, fudge and candy shops, arcades, freak-show exibits, mirror mazes, corn-dogs and funnel cakes, mini-golf, wedding chapels, even barkers luring you into their shops. Several restaurants and legitimate shops are stuck in there, but they seem strangely out of place. No coffee shops, drug stores, boutiques - normal Main Street staples. A carnival town in the Smokies.

On the other hand, the National Park borders the town, and a few minutes in you're back to wild nature. I drove Gigantor up into the mountains to go fishing, lurching over potholes and squeezing her through narrow bridges:

It rained hard while I was up there, and the rivers quickly rose several inches and became boiling torrents of whitewater, completely unfishable:

Taking cover under a bridge, its easy to see why this is known as the salamander capital of the world:

There's a rainforest feel about the place, moss covers rocks and trees, and everything is green. Its gorgeous, and we've enjoyed our walks and hikes here.


  1. Nancy and Matthew, The last pictures are great. I love specially the one of Matthew fishing and the last one on your last entry. Here they used to check the brakes as well when you came down from Pikes Peak a 14.000 high peak over the town.

  2. Looks awesome in the park! Streams are beautiful - are they potable? Remember when we would go hiking in the White Mountains and refill our water bottles with fresh mountain stream water? I used to love that!
    Nice to see your fishing - living the dream.....

  3. The water looks SOOOO good, but they tell you to treat it or boil it - such a shame. I guess there's too much bear poo in it!