Thursday, September 11, 2008

Butterflies and Ms. Kiser

It has been said that I have never met a Tourist Information Center that I could pass by. Today was a day of information gathering, so the Tennessee Centers didn't have a chance--I didn't miss a single one on our "tour" from Sevierville to Pigeon Forge to two Centers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Sugarlands and Townsend).

Along the roads between the Centers, we had the chance to do some exploring before knowing more of the details about the sights and scenes. Kate found this butterfly enjoying a stop at a butterfly bush along Little River Road.

Along this road, there were a number of overlooks that offered the opportunity to photograph portions of the Little River. We later learned that the Little River is the home of some tubing companies.

One can imagine floating down this river on a typical summer day, but the drought conditions that have plagued southwestern Virginia and other areas of northeastern Tennessee have left the Little River little more than a wading pool--filled with a number of large rocks.

Along this same road, we also caught glimpses of the mountains. Seeing the "layers" of the mountains and the color blue that covers them at certain times is quite a sight.

Then we arrived at the Tourist Information Center at Townsend. If you are drawn to Information Centers as I am, may you find someone like Gaynell Kiser behind the desk. From her answer to my first question: "Where can we go to find music like that (playing in the background)?" to questions about routes and road conditions, she drew on maps, pointed out the workshop in the nearby town of the fellow who made dulcimers, and told us about the festival where her brother would be making apple cider. We felt ready to explore the Great Smokies and the surrounding communities.

With one more visit to the butterfly and its friend.

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