Cades Cove and Abrams Falls

Trip Start Sep 25, 2010
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Trip End Oct 02, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Once again, we are lulled to a deep sleep by the tap, tap, tapping on the metal roof and gurgling down the downpipes. With the threat of occasional sunshine, we choose the Cades Cove auto tour where for hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted and Europeans settled in 1818.  With a wide variety of historic buildings, we are comforted by the thought of shelter from the rain when needed.  Luckily, this is one of the most sunny, brilliant days of our visit.

Cades Cove is the most visited part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The idyllic setting is a sampler of everything the Park has to offer. Interesting Tennessee cabins, and pioneer structures dot the cove and tell the history of its early inhabitants.

The Oliver's Cabin was the first in the Smokies.  Typical of the European immigrants and their descendants, the Olivers came despite the fact that there was no Indian treaty allowing them access to the Smoky Mountain land. Generally speaking this practice of settlement without treaty was the source of much friction between new settlers and the Native Americans already in the mountains. However, in the case of John and Lurany the Cherokee Indians actually helped the interlopers survive their first winter.

Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church - In Cades Cove and the surrounding Smokies area, it took faith to settle the American frontier so religion was a big part of life for the settlers.  The Cades Cove Baptist church was established in 1827. In time a schism developed over biblical interpretation. One side said the scripture allowed for missionary work and others in the congregation said it did not.  They decided to rename their church in order to distinguish it from Baptists with other beliefs. Their church became known as the Primitive Baptist Church in 1841.

Cades Cove Methodist Church - This Cades Cove congregation began modestly meeting in a log structure with a fire pit and dirt floor. As change came rather slowly in the Smokies, it took sixty-two years to get a newer more modern building. In 1902 the carpenter/pastor built the pretty white frame structure which became the Cades Cove Methodist church

Enclosed by a snake rail fence, one of the most popular stops on the Cades Cove tour is the one at Cable Mill which also is the home of the visitor center.

Another feature of the Cable Mill display of Cades Cove is the preserved Cantilever barn, a design in which the upper story was larger than its base. This design allowed animals which were normally outside to stand underneath the over hang in order to get out of the sun or rain.

Abandoning the hordes of other old buildings and churches, we head down the road for our 5 mile hike to Abrams Falls.  Eighteen small streams drain the slopes of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's, Cades Cove and empty into Abrams Creek. At the falls, what was the relatively peaceful Abrams Creek is suddenly diverted into a narrow chute along the right side, transforming Abrams to a violent and beautiful twenty-foot plunge over the ledge.  Spectacular and noisy too!
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