The above panorama image was taken from the observation tower atop Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains. It is comprised of about a dozen images.
So, my plan called for one more night at the park, but I changed it up a bit after reviewing my plan for today and Thursday. Instead of taking a drive through the park and returning to the campground and somewhat retracing my route tomorrow, I decided to just head for Georgia today. I took the drive along the New Found Gap road, which connects the Tennessee side of the park to the North Carolina side. Along the way was a side road up to Clingmans Peak which is the highest peak in the Smokies and the third highest east of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, it was a very “smoky” day in the mountains, so the visibility was quite limited. But still worth the hike up to the top.
After heading south out of the park, the big decision was where to spend the night – I was supposed to be in the park still. I debated between campground and hotel and had nearly made up my mind to camp when it started to rain. OK, a hotel sounds great! So, I’m spending the night in Gainesville, GA, a little less than an hour north of Atlanta. This will make what was going to be a long Thursday drive into only a four hour drive, so I may spend a little more time at Stone Mountain – depending on how the weather cooperates.