The definition for love is "an intense feeling of deep affection". That's one way you could explain my feelings of mountainous areas.
Traveling is a great thing, yet it can also be heartbreaking. When traveling to a destination that is beautiful or passing a breathtaking area along the way and having to ignore your surroundings kinda hurts. When traveling to a race I often pass by areas that I've always wanted to spend a few days exploring. Even at the race venue I may have to ignore it all because I have a task there and that is my bicycle. It's internally heartbreaking, so I have my own remedy for that.
Back in early October Lois Jean and I headed south a few days to stay in Great Smoky Mtns National Park. I've been in and out of the park a handful of times, hiked on parts of the AT and was around it on vacation as a kid. I never had really got to go explore a sizable portion of the park and have always wanted to. If you're not filmier with the park, it's big. Could take a few hours to drive across from some points, many large mountains and no cell service. This kind of place is where I love to be spending my days unwinding. I wanted to get dirty, go on day hikes and soak in as much as I could in the time I had.
We stayed at Cade's Cove, Smokemont and Elkmont. Areas that we seen consisted of Cade's Cove, Newfound Gap, Clingman's Dome, Andrews Bald, Abram Falls and Laurel Falls. We day hiked, drove around and slept near these areas. Of course I had my camera in hand for all of it. For me, not being able to slow down and enjoy the beauty of some places I travel to I am determined to capture what I see on my relaxing trips. Which is funny cause many don't see sleeping in the back of a car, not showering for 4-5 days, hiking everyday and making food on a camping stove relaxing. You can call me weird, but I love it.
The hikes we went on and the views we got to see where worth the effort. From the fields of Cade's Cove to the Peak of Clingman's Dome none of it was disappointing. We hiked out to Andrews bald to get the best panoramic views we had seen of the mountains. We climbed onto a rock away from the crowds at Laurel Falls to make lunch. We got to see a bear and experience much more. We smelled awful and we hated to have to come home. I can't to be back.