Traveler EdgeGreat Smoky Mountains National Park - Cataloochee
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   New Blogs :(07/05 or later)
Irene  (07/14)
Last Update : 2008/6/20
Currently 36 visitor(s) on-line
Total visits in past 24 hours : 788
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Cataloochee
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee
Cataloochee is lcoated on east of national park. There is only one road leads in and out here which connects to I-40. The road condition is far from perfect. In most part the safe driving speed is below 25 mph. The narrow road supports two way traffic but it is actually not wide enough. It takes some skillful maneuver for both cars to pass each other when they are in incoming direction. There are not too many visitors probably due to the road condition. Nevertheless, the view is very beautiful.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee
There is a camp ground right inside the Cataloochee area with a small creek passing by. However, our business here is not camping or sight seeing nor the historic buildings.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee Elk
Yes, we came here hoping to see elks.

This huge animal was eliminated from the region a long time ago. The last elk in North Carolina was believed to have been killed in late 1700. However, national park underwent an experiment to reintroduce this animal from other places. They started the experiment in 2001 and have already imported more than 50 elks. During the 5 year period of the experiment they will monitor these elks and evaluate the impact to the local eco system.

We have never seen an elk before. We were interested in it and were told that we had best chance to see one in Cataloochee area. Park ranger has also warned us about the road condition and the time it would take (2 to 3 hours) to get in and out of the area. Despite the warning, we still decide to try our luck.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee Elk
These elks were under the protection of electronic equipments and laws. Each one was numbered and tagged. They carried electronic tracking devices so the national park personnels can track and locate each one of them.

Whether a visitor can see elks is really depends on luck. During autumn, the mating season of elks, they are very active and the calls can be heard miles away. We were lucky enough to see two elks in November. They weren't afraid of human. They knew there were human nearby but they didn't stop what they were doing (eating).
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee Elk
Elk is huge. Adule males may weight 600 to 700 pound with 7 to 10 feet long nose to tail and stand 5 feet tall at the shoulder. It is even larger than black bear in the national park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee Turkeys
We also saw wild turkeys. They were far away from us and I did not know what they were when I took this picture.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cataloochee Turkeys
I knew that I shouldn't follow them too closely but I couldn't resist my curiosity. I finally confirmed they were turkey because they didn't (and couldn't) fly.


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