Next Meeting: January 15, 2014
Program: Biking the Berlin Wall Trail in Germany and
Hiking in the Sachsische Schweiz National Park
By Chris and Margit Krato
The Vulcan Trail Association
Nothing Beats Biking Cades Cove When Cars Are "Not Allowed"
Sometimes nothing can be more beautiful than the Smoky Mountains in the winter. This was certainly the case for the last weekend of February as twelve VTA members and guests traveled to Townsend and Cades Cove. The day before we were scheduled to leave there were reports of major snowstorms in and around the Smokies, we also discovered that the loop road around Cades Cove was closed due to construction. After several phone calls on Thursday morning we decided to stick with the plan and take our chances with the weather and the road closing.
We made the right choice. The majority of snow had fallen in the Knoxville area and north of the park with the heaviest snow on the North Carolina side of the mountains. There was still enough snow on the ground and on the mountaintops to make it feel like winter.
One group left a day early to spend Friday skiing in Gatlinburg. They reported a great time and plenty of snow. The rest of the group began arriving at the Tally Ho Inn in the middle of the afternoon on Friday. Some took bike rides along the bike path that runs through Townsend and some took a ride through the park to enjoy the scenery and some snow. Most everyone had arrived before dark on Friday and began meeting at the Talley Ho. That night we enjoyed dinner together at Deadbeat Pete’s in Townsend.
A few more had arrived during the night and joined the group Saturday morning. After breakfast we headed to Cades Cove for bike riding and hiking. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day with cool temperatures and crystal clear weather. The snow along the mountaintops just added to the scenery. The construction on the loop road turned out to be a bonus as the road was closed only to vehicles so the hikers and bikers had it to themselves. It was much more enjoyable without having to dodge cars.
Saturday night was pizza night at the cottage. We rearranged the furniture around the fireplace and built the customary VTA fire, burning everything from pizza boxes to basketballs. Sunday morning a few got an early start home with the rest hanging around for one last breakfast together before heading back to Birmingham.
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