Friday, March 30, 2007

The Elks of Chataloochee

It was a beautiful sunny day and we had nothing to do so we decided to head over to the Cataloochee Valley and see if we could find the Elk herd. If you haven't read about this place or had some one tell you about it you would never find it. It trip starts out on a divided hwy just off of I-40, you turn on to a nice paved two lane road and think everything is going to be fine. After about 5 miles you hit the first of many 180-degree turns and start heading up, oh yah it also turns in to a gravel road at this point. A few miles on this two lane gravel road, a few smooth turns and then it starts to get interesting, you look out to your right and you don't see anything, just sky, this is because from here on in the road just drops off any where from 100-700 feet. It also narrows down to two very tight lanes of dirt and you see this sign.

From here you drive another 5 miles at about 5mph making 180 degree turns with no shoulder on the left side (we’re now heading down hill), at ever turn I slowed to a crawl and sounded the horn incase any one was coming the other way. Once you get to the bottom it’s a nice wide paved road back to the valley and the remains of the old settlement. We took books and a picnic lunch and just made ourselves comfortable waiting for the Elk to come out of the woods. We were going to do some hiking but they signs up letting you know about the high volume of bear traffic in the area, last year a mother and here two kids were attacked and killed not to far from here so Cathy decided that we would just sit and wait. After about four hours I flagged down a Ranger and asked him if the herd was going to make an appearance, he told me that they already had and that we were about a mile to far into the valley. We followed the Ranger and sure enough we found two different herds and saw about a total of 20 elk, we sat there and watched them for about 45 minutes then decided it was time to head home. Heading home just meant that we had to reverse the trip in, piece of cake but I’m glad we have day light savings time and that we got back to the main road before it got dark.

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