My alarm went off at 5am and I spent a few minutes swatting around trying to turn off the annoying noise and cursing whoever was calling me in the middle of the night. I am not a morning person.
I planned to spend the day in Cades Cove, betting on being in some pain from the accident. Fortunately, I awoke in very little pain and got by on just the anti-inflammatories.
I headed for the Cove, planning to shoot the sunrise, but that plan fell through when the park didnt open the loop road until an hour after the sun had started to rise and all the color had left the sky. I still had good light for several hours and a light layer of fog to work with.
I spent most of the day in the Cove, then wandered on down the Parsons Branch unimproved road…which isnt nearly as daunting during the day driving an all-wheel vehicle as it is driving at night in a Honda Civic hatchback (I would know). Parsons Branch Road lets out onto Route 129…which just happened to be having some sort of event where motorcycles and mini-coopers were racing down this crazy winding road at breakneck speeds and people were parked at advantagious spots to photograph the racers. After getting through that mess, I took a section of the Foothills Parkway back towards Townsend, making note along the way of points that I should revisit to shoot the sunrise.
I saw quite a few bear, but none quite close enough for successful photographs. But, it was proof that mommas and cubs are out in force and I should keep a watchful eye.