I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Great Smokey Mountains. The RQ (Redneck Quotient) is always just a tad higher than I prefer. I guess it has something to do with the proximity to Dollywood, the Grand Ol’ Opry, and the heart of Appalachia. Regardless, we were in the mood to avoid crowds today, especially after too many idiot encounters in Cades Cove. We decided to avoid the whole Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge scene and head for more rural vistas. It was a very full day, and so I’ll be breaking this down into multiple posts, starting with Tuckaleechee Caverns.
Tuckaleechee Caverns were just around the corner from where we spent the night. I’d noticed before that the advertisements and brochures didn’t play upon the sensational aspects of the caverns, and also didn’t appear to add any fakery. We decided to give it a shot.
The entrance and little shop were humble in comparison some of the other purveyors of junk we had seen so far. It turns out that the guy who sold us the tickets was the son of the one of the original owners. He seemed quite reasonable. A seismic monitor stood in one corner.
At the top of the hour, our tour began. A young man in his twenties led the tour, and was well-versed in the history and details of the caverns. He stuck to those items, and did not embellish or try to sensationalize things. Even our fellow tourists were great – companionable and not obnoxious.
Our route took us past typical cavern formations. The overall trip was about a mile long, with one section ending in a huge open room, and the other ending at a spectacular waterfall. I was able to get some good shots with my fast f/1.8 lens, and even shot a few with my S50. All in all, it was $24 well spent.