Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Great Smoky Mountains

On my trip to Chattanooga, I wanted a side-trip to visit the Georgia Guidestones.  On my map, it's only "that way" about an inch, but it's a map of the South-Eastern states, so an inch is a few hours drive.  The direct route is from through the Great Smoky Mountains.  All off the routes made mad wavy lines in that region.  Thinking of Deliverance and Wrong Turn, I didn't want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere, so I chose the highway based on how easy it looked to navigate the backwoods. The first major city was Gatlinburg.  Did I say back woods?  This place was like Vegas South.  It was a long strip of hotels, shows, and attractions.  That was a surprise.  This was really the wrong place for me.  

Sunset from Clingman's Dome

Then comes the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In an instant the crush of tourist-trap nirvana is replaced by endless woods and hills. 

My GPS watch says it was 280m up the hill

I got directions to the highest point around, and went for a hike.  Clingman's Dome is a peak on the ridge separating Tennessee from North Carolina.  It really did seem endless driving out of the mountains.  It was a couple hours just to get clear of the park, and then I drove for several hours through the mountains as night fell.  Then it started to rain, so I abandoned drive for a nearby hotel.  

Let These Be Guidestones To An Age Of Reason

So is translated the hieroglyphs at the top of the monument.  As with other great stone monuments worldwide, the designers of the guidestones are unknown.  Operating under a pseudonym, a man arrived many years ago, acquired the small plot of land, and hired the local stone cutter to build them.  It's not exactly a great mystery.  Whoever put them here knows why.  In a few hundred, or even several thousand years, they should still be standing, as a message to the future.  

Selfie at the Georgia Guidestones