We have been having a wonderful time since we left Chattanooga. Most people doing the Great Loop cruise never even get to Chattanooga and even fewer head further north, but believe me, they miss the best part of the trip. The lakes north of Chattanooga are surrounded by hills with forest running all the way to the water line. The river twists and turns through canyons giving you great views around every corner. As you get further north the Great Smoky Mountains become the backdrop behind the Tennessee River hills. It is all just stunning to see.
|Smokies in the distance|
Because Tellico Lake is so new, some of the structures in the areas that were flooded are still standing. These three silos are poking out of the water marking the location of a farm that was flooded.
For so new a lake, there is a surprising amount of residential development around the northern end of Tellico Lake, the area around Knoxville. Lots of very expensive and reasonably ugly monster homes line the banks of the lake. But as you get further south, the housing thins out and by the time you get to to foot of the Smokies, you are back in nearly undeveloped land.
This is the area the Cherokees inhabited before they were driven out to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. The Cherokees fought for the British/Americans in the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Before the men would head off to fight, they asked the British to build a fort to provide protection for their women and children. The fort site was thoroughly excavated during the time of the anti-Tellico Lake lawsuits and the point of land on which it had stood was built up to ensure that it wouldn't be covered by the new lake. Then the fort itself was recreated on the site. We anchored off the fort and took our dinghy in to walk around and learn more about the history of this area.
From Fort Louden we continued south to the end of the marked channel on the Little Tennessee River, as far a you can safely take a boat as big as ours. We anchored at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.
|Foot of the Smokies|
Some days the "mist" is a thick fog. Yesterday, the boat next to us in the marina had to wait until 11:00 AM for the fog to burn off enough to move, another indication that it is time to head south.
One other stop we made on the way up the Tennessee was Dayton, TN, site of the Scopes Monkey trial in 1925. You may remember (or you may have seen the Spencer Tracy movie Inherit the Wind) that the Scopes trial was about teaching evolution in the schools. The courthouse in which the trail was held is still in use today. In fact the same spectator chairs, judge's bench and jury chairs that were there in 1925 are still there today. Many of the same businesses are still operating. Dayton is a small town that hasn't changed much at all. They do have a nice little museum about the trail in the basement of the courthouse.
|Jim at the Clarence Darrow/Spencer Tracy podium|
|Original spectator chairs|