After a brief visit to Congaree NP, we parted towards Asheville in North Carolina. As always the highway was monotonous and boring, but after we crossed the state line everything changed, we began to see hills, something totally different to what we were used to… North Carolina is a southern state that has many advantages, it has access huge mountains, making of NC a diversity Paradise. Traveling through its roads we admire the beautiful views near Asheville, a road full of curves and steep hills, with beautiful red bricked houses at the sides got us to Lake Powhatan. The campground has all the amenities to enjoy nature safely: a picnic table, a grill, a bonfire site and hot water showers. All these, plus a lake beach…what else can one ask for? … You get to the lake going down some stairs, where you can find more picnic areas and a beach where you can enjoy the sun and the clear waters of the lake. A perfect place for a family or couple to have lots of fun.
But we had to go one, after a cold night that made us use our sleeping bags, we parted toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited park in the United States, a number of hotels and cabins can be found on the road going to the park. After we left the businesses behind, we found a curvy and enjoyable road, something like the Cuyaga in Venezuela, but in perfect conditions. After many ascending curves we got to Clingsmans Dome, the highest part of the park (already Tennessee) where you park your car to continue on foot half a mile to a viewpoint. The only thing was that it was raining and we got totally drenched during the walk, and then hailstone started to fall and we had to make lots of efforts to protect the cameras while we went up the trail.
Once in the viewpoint, all our efforts were worthwhile, the view was spectacular, even though it was clouded and raining you could see 360 degrees of these beautiful mountains, you have to remember this is the highest point in the Eastern United States, 6,643 feet above sea level, simply spectacular.
We continue our tour around the park to the Cades Cove Loop Road, when we got there and to our surprise we found a deer and her calf in the middle of the road, next to the campground admission office, they were there without fearing the people or the vehicles…something we had never seen. We went in and set camp, but this time we set up one more tent, Sergio can’t take my snoring anymore, so now each one of us sleeps in his own tent, jaja….before going to sleep a good barbecue with fried yuca and cream because tomorrow will be another day full of adventure!
Members of Alaska OX: Sergio Pinillos, Johannes “Yoyo” Valero and Luis Vassallo.