Trips: Smoky Mountain Fall 2016 - Before The Fire

Fall was very late arriving to the Great Smoky Mountains thanks to unusually warm weather.  Peak color in some areas was several weeks late.  But the fall foliage was spectacular the air dry and crisp.  What I could not appreciate was that the incredible drought that has afflicted this region would just a few weeks later allow many of the areas depicted in these photographs or nearby to be subject to a raging wildfire that in barely a day would burn some 15,000 acres, destroy more than 700 buildings and take more than 10 lives, fueled by winds that reached nearly 80 mph.  

Roaring Fork Overlook, 2016

Roaring Fork Overlook, 2016. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Saturated autumn colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Saturated autumn colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Fall colors surround Bug Ogle cabin.

Fall colors surround Bug Ogle cabin. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn's gold reflects in a quiet waterway, Great Smoky Mountains 2016.

Autumn's gold reflects in a quiet waterway, Great Smoky Mountains 2016. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn leaves color the always enchanting Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

Autumn leaves color the always enchanting Roaring Fork Motor Trail. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A pine catches the maple leaves as they fall to the ground.

A pine catches the maple leaves as they fall to the ground. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Highway 441 twists and curves through the autumn forest.

Highway 441 twists and curves through the autumn forest. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Few autumn drives can compare to a late October drive in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Few autumn drives can compare to a late October drive in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Sparks Lane is beautiful in all seasons, especially this autumn morning in Cades Cove.

Sparks Lane is beautiful in all seasons, especially this autumn morning in Cades Cove. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn Colors fade near this historic church in Cades Cove.

Autumn Colors fade near this historic church in Cades Cove. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A nice place for a walk

A nice place for a walk. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn leaves cling to the large wheel that turns the mill from which flour has been ground for a generations in Cades Cove.

Autumn leaves cling to the large wheel that turns the mill from which flour has been ground for a generations in Cades Cove. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

autumn, fall, foliage, smoky mountains, gsmnp, color, bear

Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn leaves and needles lie, scattered, along Cades Cove road.

Autumn leaves and needles lie, scattered, along Cades Cove road. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A large black bear and her cubs forage for nuts that have fallen from the oaks that thrive in the Great Smoky Mountains.

A large black bear and her cubs forage for nuts that have fallen from the oaks that thrive in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Two cubs shake before they compete in their tree climbing escapades.

Two cubs shake before they compete in their tree climbing escapades. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

This autumn has been dry and many of the Park's streams have dwindled to a trickle and ponds.

This autumn has been dry and many of the Park's streams have dwindled to a trickle and ponds. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn reflects in the still waters of a pond remaining in this mountain stream.

Autumn reflects in the still waters of a pond remaining in this mountain stream. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Carlos Campbell Overlook offers a spectactular autumn view of Leconte Mountain, and an even better chance to visit with a friend...

Carlos Campbell Overlook offers a spectactular autumn view of Leconte Mountain, and an even better chance to visit with a friend. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A view of the popular Chimneys in autumn.  Sadly, not long after this a large fire started atop these Chimney tops that destroyed...

A view of the popular Chimneys in autumn. Sadly, not long after this a large fire started atop these Chimney tops that destroyed countless acres, killed numerous people and threatened the nearby town of Gatlinburg. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

A colorful autumn ridge in late October

A colorful autumn ridge in late October. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Infrequently visited and explored, the Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains offers numerous waterfalls and stunning autumn...

Infrequently visited and explored, the Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains offers numerous waterfalls and stunning autumn views. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

An autumn understory radiates in yellows and golds.

An autumn understory radiates in yellows and golds. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn greens and yellow reflect in a mountain stream.

Autumn greens and yellow reflect in a mountain stream. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

An autumn canopy yawns over Highway 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains.

An autumn canopy yawns over Highway 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn's colors can be appreciated in the tree tops, and in the waters in which they reflect.

Autumn's colors can be appreciated in the tree tops, and in the waters in which they reflect. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Autumn reflections in a quiet mountain stream.

Autumn reflections in a quiet mountain stream. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Still waters colored by autumn's reflections.

Still waters colored by autumn's reflections. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Golden greens reflect in the Little River.

Golden greens reflect in the Little River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.

Pastel reflections in the Little River

Pastel reflections in the Little River. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.