To fill in the time gap, here's what we did today...
1. Drove through Great Smoky Mountain's southwestern area (Cade's Cove Rd) to exit the park. Near the Sugarlands Visitor Center, we saw a flock of about 13 wild turkeys. While driving, I had to dodge small branches, sticks, pieces of branches, rocks and even a tree as a result of the high winds experienced in the area overnight. We pulled into a roadside lot to let someone who wanted to go fast pass us. In the lot, a park ranger driving a pickup with a plow on the front of it (who had come from the other direction) asked us if any trees were down on the road from the direction we had come. We told him that there was a small tree blocking half the road. He headed out to move it. On the road he had already cleared, we didn't have any problems.
2. The Lost Sea Adventure, Sweetwater, TN. This is a unique tour. We hiked down into a cave, passing interesting cave formations along the way. Our destination? A 4-1/2 acre underground lake which is 30' deep. And what did we do there, you might wonder? We took a glass-bottom boat ride around the lake. The owners of the cave stocked the lake with trout a number of years back as an experiment to see if there was another exit to the cave. Apparently there isn't as the trout didn't leave. They feed the trout on their tours and keep lights on 12 hours a day so the trout don't go blind and don't lose all their pigment. No fishing is allowed in the lake.
|We are on Tennesee's Civil War Trails.|
|Screams "tourist trap," doesn't it? Still interesting.|
|Motorized boats take us out on the underground lake.|
|Here's the trout.|
3. Ruby Falls, Lookout Mountain, TN. What a day for attractions! To get to Ruby Falls, we took a tour that descended 260' in an elevator to a natural cave. On the cave tour, we saw all the usual formations--cave bacon, columns, stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, flowstone, etc.
The one thing that made this cave so special to us is the 145' waterfall that is 1,120' down in the earth. Not only that, but the cavern the waterfall is in is lighted so it looks surreal, but beautiful.
|Lighted cavern...light changes color.|
|Yep, definitely water droplets in here!|
Ruby Falls Cavern has gone green. That's right, this cave is solar powered.
|Here's the bank of solar panels, hard at work.|
|Inside the railway car.|
|Looking out the front window on the way down.|
|The view out the "roof" of the car from our seat.|
|Looking out the back window at the steep tracks.|
|Here's the funicular.|
Up at the top, we had spectacular views of Chattanooga and the surrounding countryside.
|More Chattanooga, Tennessee.|
|Swing-A-Long Suspension Bridge|
|I like suspension bridges!|
|Click on photo to read.|
|The original owner's home is on the property and still a private residence.|
|Bald eagle sculpture.|
|Bob at High Falls overlook.|
|Gettin' my goblin on.|
Fairyland Caverns had beautiful black-light dioramas of many Mother Goose and other fairy tales.
|Hansel and Gretel.|
|The Three Little Kittens.|
|I want one!|
That's all for today. Are you tired of reading yet? I know I'm tired.