Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains
Many years ago, I came across a photograph of mountains, which captivated me by their serene beauty. Silhouettes of rolling hills, blue in fading light, mesmerized my mind. I was a boy and did not know the name of the place or where it was, but I carried the memory of this view over the years and eventually learned the name of it: the Blue Ridge Mountains. A few years ago, I visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and my childhood emotions woke up in response to the views I discovered there. This photograph echoes my old feeling of the place, and the lines of these ridges still feel my soul with joy.
Fontana Lake is a reservoir impounded by Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River located in Graham and Swain counties in North Carolina. The lake forms part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the northern border of part of the Nantahala National Forest.
Some moments and scenes define our perception of the place. This quiet landscape is my perception of Smokies: quiet, beautiful water stream, flowing through a lush green forest. I came there to be amazed by vistas, but found another kind of beauty instead. The one, that does not overload your senses with spectacular views, but soothes your spirit and sets your mind to a quiet state of harmony with the nature. It is not instantly recognizable: being the most visited park in the United States, Smokies might appear busy and way too touristy, which distracts from these subtle scenes. Do not be lazy, make few steps on the trail, and the place will reward you with some wonderful experience.
I've been several times in these mountains and every time I come back with memories full of comfort and internal peace. There is something about this place to me, and even the fact that it is the most visited park in the United States I still enjoy being there and manage to find solitude and quiet moments. A good example of it is this scene that I photographed at the sunset near Clingmans Dome. The place is a tourists' hotspot, with a huge parking area that is often packed with cars. But I found my camera to be an escape from the crowd. I look in the viewfinder and focus on what I see and people around do not matter to me anymore. And here is the result: my precious memory in a form of a photograph.
"The dreamy blue haze that ever hovers over the mountains softens all outlines, lends a mirage-like effect of great distance to objects that are but a few miles off, while those farther removed grow more and more intangible until finally the skyline blends with the sky itself." - Horace Kephart