I was bewitched by Cades Cove from the first time I entered that 11 mile loop in July, 2013. I was so enchanted that I knew I wanted to see more than I could if I spent just the summer having to divide my time with all the many other attractions of the Smoky Mountains.
One of the best perks about staying at Tremont Outdoor Resort is it being so close to the Cove I could just take off on a whim, stay as long as I wanted and still be home before dark. So I ended up staying over a year in the area and feel extremely blessed to have had this much time to explore in greater detail than I usually have.
I compiled info and pictures from all my previous visits, including all the numbered stops, churches, cabins and cemeteries starting at Cades Cove Scenic Loop.
And my most wonderful and memorable camping trip ever was my 4 nights Confined in Cades Cove during the government shutdown in October, 2013. With so few campers, the animals began reclaiming their habitat and I was just thrilled (and once a little scared) with the frequent sightings of bear and deer.
So Cades Cove was the most special place in TN to me in general. As I’m getting ready to leave the state tomorrow, I wasn’t sure if I should take another drive through to say goodbye. I told myself I have several hundred pictures and thousands of memories, so part of me said to just be satisfied with that and save myself the sorrow of parting. Besides, I had plenty enough to do to get ready to hit the road.
I was more convinced of that plan when it started clouding over and looking like rain. I never drive in the rain by choice. But I finally knew that I’d regret not saying goodbye to my magic cove, but since it was getting later and the light would be fading, it was now or never, so I left in the drizzle.
By the time I got there, it was still raining a bit, and since I had never been here in the rain before, I was thankful for yet another unique experience.
But periodically, the blue sky could be seen and the recent rain made the lush greens even more intense than usual.
Since low hanging clouds hugging the mountain tops are one of my all-time favorite views, I kept stopping just to watch them change shapes and patterns.
But by far my favorite sight today was this gorgeous rainbow! I started feeling like the Cove was showing off just for me and giving me a royal send-off and promise of a welcome return someday.
And since the deer is my favorite animal, I also considered it lucky to get a nice glimpse of these two this evening.
I am in awe of the peaceful scenery around every bend.
So this was all about reveling in the spirit and the vibe I’d come to love about the cove. Whenever I’m here, I try to imagine the Native Americans who hunted here first, the later settlers who built their lives and raised their families here. I read about their good times and the bad – the times of good harvest and then how the Civil War tore apart families resulting in brother fighting against brother at times.
I also think how heartbreaking it must have been for those families to be forced from their homes to make way for the national park.
If I’m so sad at the thought of not being able to visit here for a while, I can’t imagine how hard it was to leave a beloved home here.
It’s a magical place, Cades Cove is. I certainly know I didn’t see it all. I sincerely regret not visiting The Cades Cove Museum at the Thompson-Brown House sooner. I know that Gloria and Richard could have shared some more great stories with me that would have enhanced the enjoyment of my visits.
I couldn’t help but get emotional and a bit choked up as I left the loop. And I thought how perfect this last drive through was – the drizzle mixed with the sunshine peaking through was the perfect reflection of my mood – gloomy at the thought of goodbye, but bright with excitement for the next place to explore. There is lots of beauty in this country and I’m still hell bent on seeing as much of it as I can.
So tomorrow it’s goodbye to Tennessee for the time being anyway. But as one of my friends told me, the arms of these mountains reach out to draw us in, like a mother embracing her children in a warm, close embrace. I can’t imagine saying I would never return here, so all I’m willing to say is farewell for now Tennessee, and thanks for the wonderful memories…