The Smoky Mountains live up to their name

Last week (mid-March), Marcy and I enjoyed the opportunity to host an aspiring photographer on a photoshoot. We didn’t have to think long about a destination, and despite this being the national-park-road-congesting spring break season, we headed to Cades Cove. As it turned out, the traffic was not too bad, at least at first. We often joke that most park visitors are still at the pancake houses until about 10:30 AM, so we must visit early. The Great Smoky Mountains Cades Cove loop road is just 50 miles from our house, but it is certainly worlds away in both landscape and climate, and today was more special than common. We arrived as a weather system was retreating to the east and these wonderful steamy clouds surrounded the mountains. As usual, I had visions of capturing a Nat Geo class image with ethereal foggy views like this one. However, my images just could not do justice to what we saw and I decided to just enjoy the moment and forget about the perfect picture. Indeed, as the day went on, the gloomy skies lifted and beautiful blue skies and puffy clouds followed. Hyatt Lane bisects the Cove loop where we always hope to see wildlife and migrating birds. We were rewarded with the sights and sounds of a newly arrived meadowlark, but she remained down in the grass, so we didn’t come away with pictures of her. Wildflowers had not yet bloomed, and a late-season deep freeze had ruined most of the daffodils, so capturing some color was a challenge. Even in the barrenness of late winter, there are always new scenes to capture, but this visit was especially good because we were compelled to see things through the eyes of our protege.

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