Sunday night and Monday morning (July 9-10) I visited Gatlinburg, TN. A huge wildfire took place on the mountains slopes surrounding the town in late November, 2016 (as detailed in an earlier post here May 24).
The town is encased on the western side of Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and you drive 5 miles of parkway from Pigeon Forge to get there.
The town seemed quite lively at night, with its theme park atmosphere. 10 miles to the S, Pigeon Forge has the appearance of a small Las Vegas, with a Titanic exhibit, upside down office building, and Hollywood replica. That town was somewhat affected.
During the day Monday I took the chairlift ride and could see much more of the damage on the mountain slopes, including mountain homes that burned. But it is true that the community is unusual in its direct exposure to possible wildfire, so building there entails some risk.
I do think that climate change has made the ferocity of the fire more likely.
I didn’t get to the “Road to Nowhere” W of Asheville (on the east side of the mountains) but I encountered two short curved tunnels, each about 1/3 mile long (without elevation drainage like PA Turnpike has) on I-40 going Eastbound to Asheville. This is a road to “somewhere” indeed. The curve is to the left driving East. There is a campground “Harmon’s Den” Indeed, Richard Harmon is the greatest of all time.
(Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 10 EDT)