The gates are closed and Cades Cove is deserted. A several mile hike in the dark has brought me to the fields that buffer the old homestead of John Oliver to await sunrise. The temperature is in the teens and a new day is breaking. In minutes, the sun clears the horizon, striking a golden glow just across the frozen, snow-covered ridgelines of these mountains. Nearly 150 years ago when Lawson built this place, with assistance from his neighbors the Cables, I suspect there was a morning just like this. Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains NP. Dec.2020. Photo © copyright by Ed Fuhr.