The Deep Blue Draw of the Smoky Mountains
I’ve waited a long time to see the Smokies. Somehow these majestic old hills have always held a magical lure for me and I’ve imagined standing in their blue shadow for years. It’s now the beginning of fall. The air chills with moisture, a thick fog invites the morning and the trees burst with the very first tinges of red and orange. Over the next few weeks the area will transform into a fiery display of fall….or so I’m hoping. We’re finally here, and I’m giving myself to the mystery of it all.
A lot of the draw of this place has to do with its history. The Smokies are a very old mountain chain. Around 500 million years ago they were likely some of the highest mountains on earth, the ridges formed and re-formed several times from the violent clashes of continents in the early days of the earth.
They’ve since eroded and aged to thick curvaceous mountains that reach up to ~6,600 feet (~2,000m) in height. The Cherokee Indians settled here in ~1000 A.D. and called them shaconage, (shah-con-ah-jey) or “land of blue smoke” for the blue mist & hues that always seems to hover around the peaks and valleys. These mountains and their larger range, the Appalachians, stood as a mighty barrier to the West and played a considerable part in the wars, migration and tears of the 1700-1800’s that shaped the US. Throughout it all the wise old peaks endured and the original Cherokee name transformed and held to the Smoky Mountains as we call them today.
We’ll be exploring this area for 3 weeks and can’t wait to peel back the layers of history and natural beauty hidden in these hills. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!