Happy Friday! It’s been a while since we had a Philosophical Friday. Today’s thoughts are about living in an area like Gatlinburg that features great changes in altitude. Downtown Gatlinburg is about 1500 feet above sea level, yet only about 20 miles away, on the top of Clingman’s Dome, the altitude has climbed to 6,643 feet! That’s over a mile higher!
So, what’s philosophical about that? Well, as in the photo above, it can be a delightful spring day in early May down at 1500 feet, but after a 20 minute drive you could be making a snowman! It’s almost like being able to move around in time, just a little. Or it’s like adding another dimension to life. In most geographical areas the climate is determined by the two factors: the time of year and the latitude. But when you add that third factor, altitude, the possibilities are expanded. For example, the photo below shows the wildflower Spring Beauty crowding the Appalachian Trail near Newfound Gap. The photo was taken this week, in late April. But we enjoyed Spring Beauty on some of the favorite wildflower trails over a month ago!
The Trout Lily below is another example of the changes in altitude. I missed Trout Lily when it bloomed weeks ago, but by hiking the mile-higher Appalachian Trail this week I was able to turn back the clock and get a photo! And of course the whole thing works in reverse during the fall, when we can rise up into winter before the season would normally start, as shown in my photo of the Smoky Mountains Moonrise.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings, and as always, please stop in at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg to see my complete collection of Smoky Mountains photos.
Funny you mention altitude. I experienced it this last week. Camped in Cades Cove, drove and then climbed to Clingmas Dome and then the next day climbed Chestnut Trail like you suggested. I was not disappointed. BUT boy am I whipped today. I had to return to work at Vandy, wheres my energy today. OH and I road out that storm Wed, night in the tent. Great wk in the Smokeys