Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Where There Is Smoke

This past weekend, Rick and I spent some time hiking and just admiring The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The Park was established in 1934 but it has history dating back before 1540 when Hernando De Soto was exploring the Appalachian Mountains. The Cherokee called this area their home, they named the mountains shaconage, place of the blue smoke.

The blue smoke that hangs on the mountains is oxygen, VOC - volatile organic compounds. The plants, trees, breathing, giving life to the air, creating fog. The blue color we see is the reflection in the molecules. The waterfalls, creeks, rivers, plants, trees,and wildlife make The Great Smoky Mountains the most visited park in the United States.

We did a hike up to the Laurel Falls and a drive around The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This one way loop drive has lots of small areas to pull off and do your own exploring. I sat and started a sketch but a few rain drops kept me from finishing it there, I will finish it in the studio. One of the stops was along a waterway that was filled with "cairns". Cairns are man made stacks of rocks. They are used for many reasons the one I was aware of was trail markers. History notes they are used all over the world as landmarks, as monuments, to locate caches of food, other objects and trail markers. This body of water was filled with cairns, it was a delicately balanced sculpture. These markers may help us find our way or maybe just find a way to slow down.

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