Temperature forecast: 27C
Leaf color forecast: Near Peak
What choice on this late October day but to pack a picnic and head to the mountains?

No longer needing to focus on the top prize of spotting Black Bears, we can lallygag through the GSMNP’s most visited areas with an eye on the scenery.

The early morning drive out was a colorful harbinger of what was to come.

From the Cherokee, Shaconage, “place of the blue smoke.”

Nine thousand words right here.

Naturally we picnicked afterwards along Anthony Creek inside the park. It may be the most visited National Park in the U.S., but when timed right can feel rather exclusive. As we prefer.