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My forefathers came from the USA having emigrated from Scotland and Ireland in the 18th century. Mostly they landed in Virginia and over the next couple of hundred years drifted west and settled in the Carolinas. My grandparents ended up in North Carolina in Jackson county.
When I made a visit to see family there, I naturally took the opportunity to explore the landscape which can be quite stunning as the Blue Ridge Mountains run through the area. The area is renowned for Great Smoky Mountains National Park being part of the Blue Ridge which, itself is a subsidiary of the Appalachian mountain chain which is the major geological feature of eastern North America.
A relative of mine lives atop part of the ridge on Hawks Shadow Trail, a name which conjures up indigenous Indian nomenclature! Their great interest happens to be photography albeit very different to most of mine, but their work is of an exceptionally high standard.
I was promised a tour of the local landmarks and vantage points including the sunset over the Great Smokies and we were whisked up to a peak in their rugged vehicle built for all weathers as the winters here are harsh and challenging.
Waterrock Knob stands at over 5800 feet and is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th-highest mountain in the Eastern United States. The evening was perfect and the views spectacular and the surrounding peaks receding into the distance in ever transparent shades of smoky blue, hence the name Smoky mountains.
The evening scene then became bathed in pink as the sun set creating even more wonderful images which will be the subject of another set of images.
Getting to this part of America is easy! Fly to Charlotte and a few hours drive to Asheville then on to the National Park area in a very beautiful part of the country. Mid to late summer is a good time to visit for the weather if you like heat!
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor