When we set up camp 2 days ago, there was no one in the sites across from us and only one couple next to us - and we didn't hear a peep out of them. That all changed when we got back to the camp site yesterday. A group took over the 3 sites across from us and looked like they were ready to party. They were up late last night and it must have been one gal's first time getting drunk. She was loud. We were supposed to spend one more night here, but between not wanting to hear that again and the fact that it was supposed to rain tomorrow, we decided to do a morning hike, then come pack and pack up and maybe stop somewhere else on the way home.
This morning's destination was Spruce Flats Falls since it was supposed to be a cloudy day. Parking for the hike is at the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. There were already several vehicles in the parking area when we got there and we were hoping the people weren't at the waterfall. When we got to the falls, there was a small group of folks there, but they were just about to wrap up their shooting and weren't in the way at all. After that, we had the waterfall to ourselves for about 30 minutes before anyone else showed up. Fall color around the waterfall was on it's way out, but the scenery and serenity was still wonderful.
I could have stayed longer, but more people were showing up and we figured more were on the way since it was Saturday - and they were. We passed quite a few people on the trail as we were heading back to the vehicle. Many of them were photographers that carry their big cameras on their tripods as they hike. It's a lot easier to carry your gear in a pack and you risk falling and damaging your equipment carrying it out like that, so I'm not sure why they do it. Maybe it's a 'look at my big camera and lens' thing - who knows. Cindy and I are both glad we went to lighter and smaller mirrorless systems.
We got back to the camp site, ate lunch, packed up and were on the road by about 2PM. Traffic was pretty bad as we headed up towards Newfound Gap, but cleared a bit once we got on the NC side of the park. We didn't stop anywhere for an afternoon hike, but instead decided to cruise the Parkway back home. Most of the fall color we saw was in the late stages with a little bit of more brilliant color as we drove down US276 towards Brevard. Maybe South Carolina still has some color...