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North Carolina Waterfalls and Fall Color Trip 2012 (Part 3)

Well, caught up with me, as it usually does whenever I go out of town, and I’ve been so busy I’ve barely had time to check my email.  So, here’s the third and final entry from our fall color adventures.
For part one, click here.
For part two, click here.

Thursday morning arrived with a thick fog, and, having missed Whitewater Falls the previous evening, we headed there first, hoping the fog would lift. Our hopes turned out to be wishful thinking, as by 12:30 P.M., the fog was still thick. I managed to salvage the morning with this shot of a lone tree in the fog at the Whitewater Falls parking area. It’s not fantastic but I like it and it sure shows the conditions we had to deal with.

We decided to head on to Maggie Valley, where we would spend two days to witness the Elk rut in the Cataloochie Valley.  Along the way, we stopped to photograph a number of old barns and a covered bridge.  There are but one or two covered bridges left in North Carolina from the old days, so it was nice to see this one, which gives at least an aura of old times, even though it’s probably less than 10 years old and looks newer.  A charming little bridge along NC 107.
Friday morning found us driving the super dusty and bouncy, pot hole encrusted, 8 mile long dirt road approach to the Cataloochie Valley.  I hadn’t seen this road this bad before and it took almost 45 mins. to get through it.  Bad road or not, it’s always a rewarding experience to see the elk and visit this valley.  Even when crowded, as it was this day, it’s a good time.

We witnessed some decent size herds this year and there were a lot of bulls out and about during the day, which is kind of unusual.  I witnessed a short fight, but was unable to catch it with camera.  I think next trip out, I’m going to camp out in Oconoluftee and wait for the morning herd to cross the river back into the woods after their breakfast.  I saw this happening but no matter how fast I ran to get a pic, it wasn’t to be, and only caught the tail end of the last elk.  So, next year, I’ll be just sitting and waiting.
I did enjoy a bit of exploring this year and found it somewhat rewarding looking for old barns and deserted buildings on the backroads.  Here are a couple.
Found on the roadside along N.C. 107
Old barn at Oconoluftee, Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
Along U.S. 25E near Cumberland, Kentuck.  On the edge of a stormy evening.
Mingus Mill in Great Smokey Mountain National Park
A brief stop at Berea College on the way home and the iconic Draper Building.
So ends another trip to wonderful mountainous N. Carolina and vicinity.  Sunrise and sunsets were not so noteworthy or photographable this trip, as there was much haze and not much of the heavy fog normally attributed to the mountains this time of year.  This was about the best we saw in seven days.  Lots of early mornings with not much to show and sunset was no better, as there was a lot of haze our whole trip.
View from Blue Ridge Parkway, north of  Big Witch Gap.
Good bye for this year and looking forward to next year.