Last November, my husband’s family decided to spend our Thanksgiving celebration in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, just five miles north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Dad chose the location because it is halfway from Florida where they live, and halfway from Michigan where my brother-in-law and his family lives. My husband and I had just returned to the country from a three-year stay in Japan. I suppose Dad figured Jon and I will be happy wherever.

“So,why is it called the Great Smoky Mountain?” I asked.

My husband replied, “Because of the mist.”

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Family Thanksgiving Celebration 2016 at the Great Smoky National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the Eastern US extending from West Virginia to Georgia. It is called the Blue Ridge because of the bluish color when the mountain is seen from a distance.
The Great Smoky Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the Eastern US extending from West Virginia to Georgia. It is called the Blue Ridge because of the bluish color when the mountain is seen from a distance.

 

Growing up in the Philippines, Smokey Mountain (vs. Smoky Mountain) pertains to a Manila-based musical band. They were named after a large landfill in the city.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited US National Park and is one of the World Heritage Sites, half a million acre in size sprawling across two states, Tennessee and North Carolina. It is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the Eastern US extending from West Virginia to Georgia. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited US National Park and is one of the World Heritage Sites, half a million acre in size sprawling across two states, Tennessee and North Carolina.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited US National Park and is one of the World Heritage Sites, half a million acre in size sprawling across two states, Tennessee and North Carolina.
The Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain.
The Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain.
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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View of the Smoky Mountains from Clingmans Dome. At 6,643 feet, it is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

 

What is now called The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the homeland to the Cherokee Indians.  When the Indian Removal Act was signed in 1830, most native Indians were removed from their home and were forced to go to Oklahoma while some remained. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky National Park is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky National Park is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky National Park is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky National Park is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.
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Models of three local Cherokee leaders at The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky National Park is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian at the Great Smoky National Park is a perfect place to visit to explore and learn the Cherokee heritage, traditions and its own people story of trail of tears.

 

Why is it called the Blue Ridge?

Because of the  bluish color when the mountain is seen from a distance.

The Great Smoky Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the Eastern US extending from West Virginia to Georgia. It is called the Blue Ridge because of the bluish color when the mountain is seen from a distance.
The Great Smoky Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mountain range in the Eastern US extending from West Virginia to Georgia. It is called the Blue Ridge because of the bluish color when the mountain is seen from a distance.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park at dusk.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park at dusk.
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The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park at dusk.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park at dusk.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park at dusk.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park at dusk.

 

What made this trip unforgettable? Time with family, yes.

But it was most unforgettable because of my first sighting of a herd of elk. That memory, my friend, is one of the many reasons why the Smokies is worth a visit.

Herd of elk at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Herd of elk at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

 

 

 

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