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"The Volunteer State"
is our 8th visited state

TRAVEL DAY - 32.8 miles


Not a very far move but lots of twists and turns

When you reach the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway you are already inside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Upon entering the park the first thing you see is the Oconaluftee Visitor Center (which includes the Mountain Farm Museum) and a half mile north is the Mingus Mill, an historic grist mill that used a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery inside the building. Another other item of interest, not so nearby, is Clingman's Dome. But you'll have to wait until the next post for more on all of that!


...the other thing we saw upon entering the park was a group of elk grazing in a large grassy field in front of the Mountain Farm Museum. Every late afternoon the elk just seem to magically appear as if they were released from a nearby pen. It's obviously the same group each day, but these are all wild and free to come and go as they please. The following photos were taken on three different days and all between 3:30PM and 6:30PM.


What you see with the naked eye from the roadway viewing area
A little closer view of the "gang" (a group of elk)
A few of the "cows" (females) had collars that allow tracking of the gang's location
It was good to see there were also quite a few "calves" (baby elk) within the gang
The big "bull" (male) was always watching over the gang...
... and shouting orders to be obeyed.
It's an exhausting job being responsible for an entire gang of unruly elk!
Each day around 6:00PM the gang would begin bedding down for the night...
... and always with their backs to all the cameras and crowds of people!

Until next time

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