Cumberland Gap is a major pass through the Cumberland Mountains, part of the Appalachian range.
It facilitated the westward expansion of Europeans on the North American Continent.
It is very near where the states of Virginia, Kentuck, and Tennessee come together.
On this brief visit we drove up to Pinnacle Overlook. This high point was fortifide by Union forces in the Civil War.
These troops were eventually starved out by the Confederates.
The Ocooee River is a popular white water recreation area.
It also provides hydro-electric power from three Tennessee Valley Authority installations.
Klingman's Dome is the highest peak in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
The forty foot observation tower on top is the highest point in the park.
On a clear day it provides a vast, 360 degree panorama.
On this day, the clouds were down to the foot of the trail. There were many dreamlike scenes, but no wide vistas.
At the trail head parking lot, almost everything had cleared.
Most of the many dead trees are Fraser Firs.
They are attacked by a non-native insect, which kills 80% of adult trees.
Mingus Mill was built in 1886 to grind corn and wheat.
It still has its original equipment, in the original location.
An eleven horsepower cast iron turbine, rather than a water wheel, powers all the equipment in the mill.
It is maintained by the Park Service and still operates for demonstration purposes in the summer months.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was built in the 1930's, during the Franklin D Roosevelt administration.
It, like many Public Works projects, provided jobs and stimulated the economy during the Great Depression.
It pays dividends in increased tourism and stunning vistas to this day.
This is the most southern part of the Parkway, starting in the Cherokee Reservation, in the National Park.
The speed limit is 45 mph, and there are turn outs and overlooks almost every mile.