After yesterday's long though enjoyable day hike up and down Mt. LeConte, we weren't in any hurry to exhaust ourselves with another long hike. Since there was a chance of rain coming in the afternoon, we also didn't want to get caught out somewhere. Add yet another factor to our decision making, we didn't want to just sit around all day, especially because the weather had been so great, contrary to what the forecasts were calling for. So a short morning hike that was close by was in store. We figured the Gatlinburg Trail and a few of the nature trails around the visitor center would be enough to satisfy our need for exercise and be completed before lunchtime. Anyone who has done the G'burg Trail starting from the edge of town knows that it soon passes by the famous sign at the park entrance. We stopped for an arbitrary shot which worked out great because this time of year there are no crowds or traffic to disrupt the photo!
We passed a few people along the way, either out walking a dog, getting in a routine jog, or just enjoying the nice weather before the rain like we were. The walk was pleasant, nothing but the sounds of the wind, the birds, and the river. As before, we were amazed at how clear the water was. This time of year you can see straight to the bottom and pick out all sorts of amazing colors. The variances in green were quite interesting. As beautiful as it was, we were in no hurry to jump in. I think we'll save that for the heat of summer.
When we reached the visitor center, we took the turn for the Fighting Creek Nature Trail that wanders through the woods highlighting different trees. One eventually comes out at the sight of John Ownby's Cabin. It had been a long time since I had been back here, although my family has some fond memories of this place. None of which I will mention here, but it was interesting to relive said experiences as I stepped inside the cabin. Shortly after we left the cabin and made our way around the rest of the loop hike, we stumbled upon a large gathering of turkeys. They seemed unalarmed by our presence, so we watched them from the trail for several minutes. We counted about twenty turkeys in all.
On our return trip we took the detour to Cataract Falls. Bonnie had never seen it, it was close by, and there was no sign of rain, so we gave it a go. Not the most impressive of waterfalls in the park, but still one to be appreciated. We eventually made it back to town unscathed and grateful that we got in some exercise. At least this way we wouldn't feel guilty spending the rest of the day being lazy.