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Old 9th November 2008, 10:10   #31
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Default Part 3 - The colours of Nature

The rest of the journey was quite smooth. After all the offroading, once we landed back to the metalled roads, we realized that we were very hungry.

Attachment 68013

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0019-large.jpg

Me trying to put up a brave face after the ordeal
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0020-large.jpg

On the way, we stopped at a picnic area to have food that we were carrying. The place was quite desolate, quiet, the surface strewn with fallen leaves, the tall trees reaching for the sky and to add music to it, there was a small rivulet flowing by. You can hear the sound of the flowing water from the place where we settled down.

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-pb010038-large.jpg

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0048-large.jpg

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0066-large.jpg

After a good break of 45mins, we started again. Stopped frequently in between to soak in the beauty.

This place was absolute bliss. As I was clicking pics, the leaves kept showering down at me. It was poetry in motion.

In the pic below, try counting the falling leaves.
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0069-large.jpg

It would be a wait for another whole year, before nature would return to this beautiful form.

Who knows where I will be at that time?

Enjoy the colours of Nature
The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0128-large.jpg

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0150-large.jpg

The FALLen trees, The SMOKYing Mountains, The MAZDA-dsc_0157-large.jpg
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Old 10th November 2008, 11:49   #32
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Do nothing. Just behave like you behave with street dogs - that is, ignore and keep doing whatever you were doing. Don't run (most wild animals are automatically programmed to chase something that runs, even if originally they didn't intend to chase). Don't look eye to eye. Don't back out.
Bears don't eat large animals, so it won't think you were food. Bears also don't attack unless provoked.
Its good that you know these things.
What about the bears? Do they know?
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Old 10th November 2008, 12:01   #33
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Its good that you know these things.
What about the bears? Do they know?
How many wild bears have you faced on the road in life? I have faced quite a few. By the way, apparently lot of people are meeting them in the stock market these days

@ Saurav
That slow shutter speed pic of the creek is beautiful. Nice use of shutter speed control. Remember the exposure?

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Old 10th November 2008, 20:59   #34
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@ Saurav
That slow shutter speed pic of the creek is beautiful. Nice use of shutter speed control. Remember the exposure?
The shutter speed was set at 1/2.5sec and with that setting, the aperture was showing as "HI", because the camera was not being able to handle the glare from the water. So, I had to override the EV to underexpose to -3EV, to get that picture.
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Old 12th November 2008, 19:14   #35
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Gosh Saurabh - Just saw this post - I spent a good 2 years in Charlotte - Me & my wife made atleast 9-10 visits to Smoky & Blue Rigde Parkway (till as late as Aug this year)- We used to camp & trek there often - these photos have bought back fond memories of the fall season - u did have a lovely time there ( i've never off-roaded in the car there though !!)
Tell u what u can do more :
1. Go to the public library & get Lonely Planet books on the Blue ridge Parkway & Trekking & Waterfalls in Smokies - there are so many different waterfalls to which you can trek to
2. If u love camping (Frontcountry or backcountry ) - smoky is THE place - fantastic campgrounds - again u can get info on the National Park Service - Experience Your America site - there are many campgrounds which are open all through the year

3. Blue ridge parkway is 460 odd miles - pick up a section of 50-100 miles over a weekend & spread it out - u'll enjoy the drives, treks without stretching out too much !! ( we couldnt do Milemarker 1-200 in Virginia , however we did Milemarker 200-460 - most of it in NC)

& yeah don't worry much about black bears - we encountered many during our treks - just peacefully , slowly walk away from them - u'll be fine

& have fun....!! cheers
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Old 12th November 2008, 19:40   #36
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Thanks for all the information paharino1. Smoky is indeed a great place to trek and explore. In fact, I have done a few day hikes around the Appalachians. It has some of the best hike routes. I do have a few hikes coming up which I keep doing over alternate weekends.

Some portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway would remain closed during winter. So, will have to plan my route accordingly.
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Old 12th November 2008, 19:55   #37
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Great pictures Saurabh. I did a skyline drive trip this fall. Skyline drive is north side of Blue Ridge Parkway. I am planning to do a trip down south in smokies some time soon. Is Blue Ridge Parkway drivable in winter?
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Old 12th November 2008, 20:34   #38
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Great pictures Saurabh. I did a skyline drive trip this fall. Skyline drive is north side of Blue Ridge Parkway. I am planning to do a trip down south in smokies some time soon. Is Blue Ridge Parkway drivable in winter?
Thanks Niks. Skyline drive is fantastic, I should say, as I have heard. Some portions of the BRP remain closed during winter. There are other sections which will remain closed for repairs. This link will give some idea : Blue Ridge Parkway - Road Closures (U.S. National Park Service)

I also plan to visit the Smokies during the middle of winter to experience a different landscape.
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Old 12th November 2008, 21:46   #39
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Lovely pictures, it has already reminded me of my days in Solitude, Germany. The forests look so colorful...
Indeed absolutely lovely, and yes it first reminded me of Germany too! I didn't pay that much attention to the title of this thread (sorry) and happened to see the forest pictures first, thinking "oh wow, someone has been to Germany" lol. This is exactly how it looks here at the moment, too.

Absolutely beautiful and colourful pictures. You happened to catch this wonderful "autumn mood" of nature in a fantastic way! Absolutely brilliant, I love your travelogue Saurabh.

I have travelled a lot around the world already but never was too interested in the U.S. though I know there are many many beautiful spots there. Seeing these pictures I think I must give it a second thought for the next time though!
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Old 12th November 2008, 22:30   #40
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Beautiful, breathtaking scenery. Its when we see pictures like this that we wonder what we're doing in the middle of the brown desert out here - Autumn is beautiful, it is my favourite time of the year. Add to it clear blue skies and its heaven on earth!

Thanks for the writeup and do be careful with your car. You dont want to explore unknown trails when there's no connectivity with the world outside, though its quite surprising that you were just 2.6 miles away from the highway and still didnt have cellphone coverage. Guess we're better off in this part of the world when it comes to telephony.
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Old 12th November 2008, 22:39   #41
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... This is exactly how it looks here at the moment, too.

Absolutely beautiful and colourful pictures. You happened to catch this wonderful "autumn mood" of nature in a fantastic way! Absolutely brilliant, I love your travelogue Saurabh.
Thanks for your comments, TheOne®. Autumn is really very beautiful here. I had the privilege to experience Falls in Scotland and Canada previously. I would keep the Scotland experence on top of everything. Fall in Scotland is simply breathtaking. I can understand how nice Fall would be in Germany. Enjoy the best time of the year.

I have a dream to visit Germany and I know, some day I will. Thats ofcourse not because of the Fall, but to get a chance to drive on the famed Autobahns.

There are indeed some beautiful places in US. You may like to check out this travelogue : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...nd-canyon.html (210 Horses around a River - The GRAND Canyon)
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Old 12th November 2008, 23:39   #42
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I had the privilege to experience Falls in Scotland and Canada previously. I would keep the Scotland experence on top of everything. Fall in Scotland is simply breathtaking. I can understand how nice Fall would be in Germany. Enjoy the best time of the year.

Thanks, I will do that for sure!
This is indeed a beautiful time and still warm enough to enjoy it. Such a pity Sam cannot be here at the moment, I know he would have loved it too.

Scotland is also one of my dreams. Though it is so close I have never made it yet but seen lots of pictures and reports. Funny enough I somehow always end up spending all my time in countries other than European countries (countries in Africa and Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and since recently India, smile) - I need to work on that lol.

Any more pictures of your trip? I cannot get enough of them, those colours and this scenery are absolutely captivating!
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Old 13th November 2008, 00:13   #43
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@Steeroid : It was really strange not to have connectivity. I guess this place is plagued with this problem. I first visited the Smokies in June this year and it was the same day that @1100D was visiting. Both of us were in the town of Gatlinburg but could not meet up as there was very poor connectivity.

@TheOne: Visiting countries like Africa and Latin America must be a whole different ball game, I guess. I hope you enjoyed Diwali in India when you last visited. This is the time when you want to be with your beloved ones.

I have some more pics but they are not of much variety. Too much of anything spoils the fun. Lets leave the rest to imagination . It will come back in your dreams, I can assure you.
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Old 13th November 2008, 00:25   #44
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A thread from you and I see this so late!

The first opportunity of a randezvous with yourself had me green with envy as to your locational proximity to the Smokies. As a matter of fact, when we went there, I had already told my company during that trip, that we are really not seeing the Smoky mountains the way it should be seen.

However, I have had the good fortune of experiencing those colours (pardon the "u", it must be alien for you in those lands!!) on an earlier stint (when American politics didn't have much colour).

Coming back, the alternate route was very adventurous. Whats life without a little bit of uncertainty. I like. The Pictures though, fantastic would still fail to capture the feel of being in that scenery.

But let me still point out a little fact, most auto insurance companies do not cover damages sustained on an unpaved road. Most car insurance policies do not cover your car against Bear attacks. (Although you know what I am saying, but for those who dont know me, by "bear" I mean general wildlife)

About hiking in the Gatlinburg area we were specially cautioned against the bears, something in these lines:-

Bearman's Bear Attacks and Bear Spray-What to Do, What to Carry

Bear menace is quite real, guns, sticks etc will actually be harmful for you.

The intent of saying this is not to discourage but just point to potential risks.


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Scotland is also one of my dreams.
I have been there, but even now, I long to go back there. One drive I took from Edinburgh to the Isle Of Skye, must have been the best in my life, driving by the Loch and in some parts I had the water on one side and some mountains (sometimes capped with snow) on the other. Its a place like no other. We had a overnight stay at a "Bed and Breakfast" and it was the only house in the eyesight looking from it. It was fantastic. Dream fulfilled?!! No. Would like to get there again, yet it wont be over. The majestic forts, the ruins, everything is so special (It was also my first foreign assignment after joining my job).

Go there, but not alone. But then, even if you go alone, you will find enough company within yourself amongst those sights.

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@Steeroid : It was really strange not to have connectivity. I guess this place is plagued with this problem. I first visited the Smokies in June this year and it was the same day that @1100D was visiting. Both of us were in the town of Gatlinburg but could not meet up as there was very poor connectivity.
I also had a friend in the same Log Hut facilities, (but I needed to contact him to key in his code to enter their enclosure) but couldn't meet him till a chance meeting, because of this.

Moreover, one more thing that I found was that, we checked into our log hut, stayed there, checked out, without actually meeting or interacting with any person from the property/facilities. Even if we wanted to, I am not sure how could I do that, apart from say calling the cops. It was kind of eerie.

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Old 13th November 2008, 21:04   #45
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@1100D: The pic does not do justice to the actual beauty of the place. While passing through the adventure trail, the car kept hitting the rocks below. It was that time when I remembered your words about no insurance coverage on unpaved roads. I never knew the bear menace was so severe. But, its good to know that atleast there are so many wild animals in their natural habitat. In fact, we humans are a menace to them.

@TheOne: You must visit Scotland. Take Sam with you and you will wish to come back again. Its one of the most beautiful countires I have ever visited. The best time is around Aug - Nov.
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