Monday, February 28, 2011

Cherokee, North Carolina

We always rode to Cherokee when we first started going to the mountains after we were married. We usually passed through Cherokee on our way to Maggie Valley. Both of these places went downhill years ago and we haven't been in years.

We read about elk being released in The Smokies a couple of years ago.

So...we decided we were going to try to find them this year.

We read that they were released in the Cataloochee Valley.

We also found a few Smoky Mountain blogs that said that a few elk had migrated to Cherokee.

So, we rode to Cherokee to see if we could find some elk.

We went to the Cherokee Visitor Center and asked about the elk.

The guide said that some days they would come into the field beside the visitor center early in the morning and late at night.

We talked about it and decided to hang around a while. We found a pretty scenic spot and had a picnic lunch.

We rode into Cherokee and was really pleasantly surprised at how it had built back up.

Of course, this is because of the new casino. John and I aren't gamblers.

No judgment long as you aren't taking anything away from your family

and obligations....we just don't get a kick out of it. But man, has it done wonders for that town.

You should see the new school.

I can't believe I didn't get a picture.

I have never seen a nicer school. Amazing!

The football stadium....unbelievable.

The football field...again, amazing!

If you are in Cherokee....go find it and look for yourself!

We came back to the Visitor Center to walk the trail, beside the river, that is provided by the Visitor Center. John wanted to walk off the trail closer to the river. We talked about how long we would stay in hopes of seeing the elk and decided that we would not stay until dark since we didn't want to drive the twisty curves, over the mountain, back

to Gatlingburg at night

That was when John said that with it being a really overcast day that we might find the elk

out already if we knew where to look. hunter husband went into game mode.

He found this tree pretty quickly and said it was where they had been rubbing

their antlers and then found where they crossed the river to the field by the

Visitor Center. He found a point, across the river, to look for and then we

got into the car and hunted a way across the river.

After one wrong turn we got on a road on the other side of the river and John found the point he was looking for.

He drove slowly and found a road he thought might be along their trail.

We went about 1/2 a mile when we came to a big field. Not being a hunter I saw nothing.

John said

There they are

We had 3 elk to ourselves for a whole afternoon.

We parked the car immediately before they saw us

and went up into the woods across the road. We would walk and when they raised their head from eating we would stop. Eventually we got right in front of them. John stopped before me and I walked on to try to get some close pictures with my long lens. I loved it. This big guy

(John said small really...big to me) kept looking straight at me and his nose would move. I knew he was trying to figure me out but luckily the wind was blowing in our favor.

15 elk have migrated to Cherokee from where they were released.

As it began to get later in the afternoon 8 cows came out and grazed with these big guys.
We didn't make it to Cataloochee Valley this trip but we have a game plan for our next trip.
I doubt it could be any better than this day!


Courtney Long said...

wow - great pictures!

Hollyhand House said...

Love the pictures!

kimberly t. bowling said...

Mrs. Joy...they look as if they were posing for you!

Jill said...

These are wonderful pics! A great trip I'm sure!

Kim Lawson said...

they are big!!!!