National Geographic : 1952 Oct
Blue Haze as from Fire Gives These Mountains a Name: the Great Smokies Clingmans Dome, second highest mountain in eastern United States, is seen from Myrtle Point, top of Mount Le Conte (page 487). Unbroken forest stretches to the horizon; trees in this national park are never cut. Here the Government preserves frontier conditions of a century ago. for the sharpest descent of our entire trip 2,000 feet in one hour. On the way down the lead horses seemed terrifyingly far below, and the tops of those tall trees still lower. I wondered if Ruby, like myself, was hang ing on grimly to the saddle and praying that her horse wouldn't go over the side. Liz, who could ride a horse before she could write her name, seemed completely at ease, as did Genevieve just ahead. In the quiet valley of Caldwell Fork we passed several abandoned cabins and houses. Mountain people had lived here years before the Government acquired the land for a park; but now the only signs of life were the clawed off bark of apple trees whose ripe fruit had tempted bears. From off somewhere a ruffed grouse drummed in the loneliness. Our first night's encampment was on Rough Fork of Cataloochee Creek, at the clearing of Old Woody Homestead, one of these empty houses. We tied up our horses, watched Sam start his fire, saw the gray smoke rise, and caught the tempting odors that rose with it. In no time at all Sam produced broiled lamb chops, mashed potatoes, peas, and buttered hot biscuits. Food never tasted better. Sound Advice Blithely Ignored Bob Sisson, an experienced camper, gave us good tips: Put on top of your duffel bag the things you will need in the morning; use your jacket for a pillow; above all, pick a good place for your sleeping bag; clear the ground of rocks and twigs, and get your air mattresses blown up before dark.