KY/NC/TN - Brent Goes Outside
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Great Smoky Mountains NP (TN)

Hey everybody! I just got back from a roadtrip down to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. I like to travel in the fall each year and look for fall colors. This trip was kind of a flop in that regard - most things were either green or brown because they did not get a lot of rain this year. As always, I made the most of it and still came away with some photos I like.

This one is from an area called "Cades Cove" - a rustic valley with old settlers' cabins, mountain views, and lots of wildlife (I saw several black bears and 1.6 million deer). It was kind of a shock going from the least visited park in the lower 48 states (Isle Royale) to by far the most visited park. It gets double the visitors of the Grand Canyon, the second most visited park. Driving anywhere to anywhere in the park usually took around an hour of very windy, hilly roads and traffic jams were not uncommon. Cades Cove is the most popular place in the park. It's an 11 mile driving loop through the valley and it opens at sunrise. Each time I visited there I arrived around an hour before sunrise and there was already a line of cars waiting to get in.

There's a common dilemma amongst nature photographers and enthusiasts regarding these sorts of situations. On one hand, it is fantastic that more people are getting out and enjoying nature because the more people that enjoy nature, the more people that will want to preserve it and take care of the earth for the enjoyment, comfort, and necessity of all life. On the other hand, most nature enthusiasts enjoy some degree of solitude and quiet. What to do? I don't know. I welcome your thoughts on this, please leave a comment!

Anyway, this photo's title is referencing the Konami Code and what it was like driving in the park. Up, down, left, right, and all over the place. More to come!

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