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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer Vacation Day 48

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The last couple of days we were in Gatlinburg there was rain.  Lots and lots of rain!  There were times when the sun came out and we were able to get out and do things, but we didn't venture too far into the woods because we didn't want to get stuck in the storms when they came through.

One morning, the weather map showed that although it was raining in Tennessee, the North Carolina side of the park still had sunshine.  So, we headed to Bryson City and The Road To Nowhere.

I posted pictures on Facebook and my friend Carla was a little confused.  She asked, "Does the road really just end?"  The answer to that question is.....YES!

Here's the story I was told.....

During World War II, The government decided to build Fontana Dam and it resulted in over 1,000 families being displaced.  Many of these people came from families that had never lived anywhere other than the North Carolina Mountains.  They received no relocation assistance and the families that refused to sell their land simply had it seized by the government.

The government did promise to build a road around the Smoky Mountain National Park that would give people access to the old cemeteries where their ancestors were buried.

By the end of 1969, 6 miles, one bridge and a tunnel were completed, but no more work was done and the remaining 26 miles of the promised road were never completed.  There are families who are still waiting for this road to be completed.

The part of the road that does exist is a beautiful drive that ends right before you get to the tunnel.  There are parking places there for the hikers and tourists.  Once you walk through the tunnel there are several different hiking trails you can take.

We got there early and had the area to ourselves for most of the day.  I walked through the tunnel and realized about halfway through that it's much longer and darker than I expected.  Turns out the tunnel is about a quarter of a mile long!

After I posted the pictures on Facebook, someone brought up the possibility of snakes being inside the tunnel and now I don't know if I can ever go through it again!  LOL!

Anyway, here are some of the photos I took that day...


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