November 6-7, 2006

Driving north to Waynesville, NC, we found patches of leaves in the North Georgia Mountains that were still in full color. We stopped at the Tallulah Falls Gift Shop to stretch our legs.

Hwy 441 north from Frankin towards Dillsboro 

This hedge of Burning Bush led to our motel on the hillside overlooking Waynesville, NC.

After fine dining at the local Huddle House we drove to Cataloochee, following the map from the Welcome Station in Waynesville. We only got lost once trying to find Cove Creek Road.  Looking down into the valley from the Cataloochee Overlook.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park took over the thriving community of Cataloochee.  A population of 1,250 people and over 200 buildings were scattered around the cove. By 1938 all but a few of the families had moved. Big Cataloochee is accessible by auto but Little Cataloochee by hiking or horse back riding only.

Cove Creek Road into the valley is 11 miles of winding, narrow, graveled road.  Meeting another vehicle is an adventure.  The valley is beautiful and our first sight of elk was exciting. 

The elk did not seem to be concerned with the people. Elk were reintroduced into the valley in 2001.

25 elk were released in February, 2001 and 27 more in 2002.  This was the first time elk had roamed the Smokies in 150 years.

All the elk are radio-collared and will be monitored closely during the five year experimental phase of the project.

The elk did not pay attention to the people watching them but when the horse came by they watched carefully.

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