Cataloochee Valley

The rough, twisting road to Cataloochee Valley begins about three miles from our home. The valley is the place to see elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, if you happen to be there at the right time. We stopped to read information about the area and posed at my favorite lookout point.

One of the buildings left from the abandoned community was the picturesque little chapel. Inside, friend Rose pretended to preach.

Inside one of the old houses, $ struck up a conversation with a family as they stood before a photograph. He found out they represented two branches of the family that had lived in that house. They named all the people in the picture, starting with their great grandfather. Their grandfathers were brothers.  It was exciting to meet people whose history was bound up with the house they were standing in.

Rose, a former school teacher, pretended to write on the board in the old schoolhouse. She and I agreed that we would have a hard time concentrating in that room, because we could see a stream outside the window. $ and Rose posed in the opening on the second story of the barn. Rose, wearing her hiking sandals, waded through a stream. This was the same spot John’s sister Barbara waded a year or so ago. If I’d had sandals like Rose, I would have gone in the water, too.

John commented on a ring of stones in the stream, which we had not seen there before. $ explained that Indians used to catch fish by putting stones in running water. The front had smaller stones to let fish in, and larger stones were at the back to hold them in the circle. Rose said she saw fish in that area, holding her hands about five inches apart to show the size of the fish.

052719 9 Circle of stones in stream.JPG

We saw groups of people sitting in camp chairs next to their vehicles, waiting to see if the elk would come out of the woods to graze at dusk. We needed to get home, but we were looking for the animals as John drove. Either John or friend Gerhard spotted a small elk near a red truck. John stopped as the rest of us aimed our cameras or phones. The picture with the truck is the way we saw it – not zoomed in. As we watched, a mature animal ambled around the truck. There were three or four young ones that followed her.

052719 10 Elk at Cataloochee.JPG

Rose got the best shot. Two elk wandered onto the road, and she captured them beautifully. You’d think they were alone, with not a care in the world. The truck was off camera as these two ambled by.

052719 Elk at Cataloochee by Rose.jpg

27 thoughts on “Cataloochee Valley

  1. It was totally worth the trip to see those elk and to enjoy those pictures through your post. Rose is a beauty. If a school room had a stream outside and nature as you all see it, it would be difficult to concentrate in those rooms. I have read that children in the olden times kept their lunches in a part of a strean where the water was cold, till it was time to eat.
    Susie

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  2. As Mary Agnes travels the backroads at 0500 on her way to the gym several days a week, she never exceeds 35 mph. With little to no traffic, she hugs the center line to provide more room for evasive action to the right or left from our White-Tail population. Why they do not cross at the “Deer Crossing” sign, put there by those smarter than us, we shall never know. I often take count of those in close proximity to the road on my way home from town. Seventeen was the count coming home from town after a meeting several nights ago as dusk settled in. Drive safely my friends.

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    1. Oh, dear! I can’t imagine seeing 17 deer on the way home. Has Mary Agnes had lots of close calls? We don’t see deer around here very often. We haven’t seen one near a road in the five years we’ve lived here. Y’all drive carefully!

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      1. I would be tickled to see that. I was at Lake Erie Metropark one morning when I went the one time to “Coffee Club” which begins at 7:00 a.m. As I turned the corner, a few deer were crossing the trail. This City Girl was excited!

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      2. I would have been excited to see your deer, too. Toward the end of our time in NY, we had deer in the woods at the back of the house. The university across the street was expanding, and the deer were losing their territory. They are fun to watch.

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      3. Yes, I was kind of mesmerized by them to be honest. My friend who gets them in her backyard in Honeoye Falls, NY, sees them so often that she sees the whole family. Yesterday she saw a fawn wander out of the woods and the mom came and nudged it right back where it strayed from.

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