June 2, 2022
“Tim, it’s only a half mile hike, it will be easy!” I was negotiating the trip to Clingmans Dome on Thursday. I later learned that that very short hike, while paved, was STEEP! In a half mile, you climb 330 feet of elevation.
The photo above is incredible, but just wait, this is only the view from the parking lot. LOL!
Clingmans Dome is 6643 feet above sea level from the viewing platform and is along the Appalachian Trail. Tim will proudly tell you he “did” the Appalachian Trail now – well he “did” maybe 10-15 yards of it.
He did meet a grandpa/grandson duo who were spending 7 weeks on the trail. They were three weeks in when we came across their path.
Clingmans Dome is named for Thomas Lanier Clingman who was an attorney, US Representative and a Senator and scientific explorer. I’m going to claim him as a long lost relative. Did you know my middle name is Lanier? I’m named after a distant relative, poet Sidney Lanier. I actually have no idea if there is a relation – but I’m going to go with it!
My journalism training tells me that there should be an apostrophe before the s, since Clingmans Dome was named after a guy named Clingman, but an article on http://www.hikertohiker.net schooled me. Apparently the US Board on Geographic Names decided not to use apostrophes.
We made it to the top, with the help of benches along the path designed for breath catching and breath taking breaks.
The Great Smoky Mountains Association put out a beautiful brochure in cooperation with the National Park Service. It’s filled with tons of information on how the mountains were created. You can read all about a continental plate collision here:
The gorgeous view is filled with Fraser fir, red spruce, American mountain-ash and pin cherry. You will also be delighted with patches of St. john’s wort, bluets, coneflower, bee balm and dozens of other wild flowers.
A scrooge-bug known as the European adelgid has taken out many of the Fraser firs. The National Park Service works to control them, but it’s a difficult battle.
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