Repost of Fall Leaves in the Smoky Mountains
Originally posted Nov. 6 2005 reposted beacuse of the many questions that we have been getting for the date of peak color change in the trees.
The Cherohala Skyway - Road Trips and Tennessee vacations.
What the heck is the Cherohala Skyway? I have never heard of it until today. It took me a while just to pronounce it correctly and come up with the proper spelling. Is it Cherahala? Cherahalo? Cerohala? Goodness. It took some brochure hunting to get the proper spelling down. Lets not dilly dally! I'm excited to tell my story.....
An old friend of mine is truly gifted by being able to truly cherish the smaller things in life. One of those worldly treasures that most of us take for granted is the landscape and scenery on road trips. Now, I’m not talking about Route 66, the Florida coasts, or Natchez to New Orleans. I’m talking about getting on your local highway and taking the boring drive over to the next town. I’m speaking of the most basic of basics when it comes to scenery.
For myself, I would be falling asleep while looking at tree after tree of the same boring pine, and my friend would be cherishing each one for what it was. In fact, most of the time there was always a sigh of happiness and enchantment by her.
This past weekend I ventured on a business/pleasure road trip of my own. The mountain road that we were on is the Tennessee Cherohala Skyway or the Tennessee National Scenic Byway, nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains. I’ll be honest. I hate road trips, and I don’t like to take long drives at all. I knew I’d be in for another tiresome pine tree viewing exposition. Joy.
My meeting was in Tellico Plains, nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
The long drive to Tellico Plains was unexpected, but I must say that the scenery on this trip was unimaginable. It turned our that my road trip coincided with the colors of Fall, and I had never truly realized how beautiful Fall could be.
I was born in New York, where fall is observable, and I lived in Florida - where in my opinion there is no Fall season. On my road trip driving through Cherohala Skyway, I was floored by every twist and turn of the road. Those of you who have never seen the fall colors will be in shock if you visit Tellico Plains, Tennessee – specifically the Cherohala Skyway. The explosion of colors and the natural placement of every tree on this trip were just unbelievable. I felt as though I was thrown into a sea of skittles candies.
The point is, fall is truly a wonderful season and around November 6th is the date you want to get out and visit Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend and any part of the Smoky Mountains.
I have never seen so many things come to life on that road trip. It’s almost like I was in a magical land. I now see why it’s rated one of the most driven trails by motorcycle enthusiasts. They have no boundaries or blind spots in their vision. Their views through the twists and turns of the fall colors must be like a 3D-virtual reality drive. Remind me one day to buy a motorcycle and then take the same trip.
Back to my old friend. Think about this; if she saw the dullest of pines come to life in a spectacular way, how would she feel about the Cherohala Skyway? Unimaginable.
Some facts about Cherohala Skyway
The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name "Chero...hala"
Tellico Beach Drive-In is located here - one of the most famous places in Tennessee according to my colleague JR.
I met the man yesterday who helped start head up the Cherohala Skyway. Charles Hall is a brilliant and dedicated man. At the time of the brief meeting he was showing us a rare Indian artifact and was like a kid with a sac of candy the day after Halloween. I look forward to meeting with him again.