We had a wonderful visit with the grandparents while they were here. One of the things they wanted to do while visiting, was to take a trip to Cataloochee Valley. This is the place where they re-introduced the elk back in to the Great Smoky National Park. It is also a settlement from the late 19th and early 20th century. They have several homes, a couple of churches, and a school house, that are still standing in the park that you can look at. It had been a while since our family had been to the park, so we were happy to take them.
I will warn you that this is post has many pictures!
The first place we stopped was the school. As you can tell below by the sign, it was built in 1903.
This is a creek running beside the school house. I can just see the kids taking turns going to the creek to get water for the teacher.
The isn’t a one room school house. It actually had 2 rooms! I was able to get a couple of my kids to sit at a desk.
Even those it is no longer in use, the school is still a beautiful building.
I loved this picture of Papa and granddaughter talking!
The next place we went to in the park was the Caldwell House. However, before we looked at the barn and house, I had to get a picture of the mountains. While it was a rainy and overcast day, it was still a beautiful day in Cataloochee Valley!
This was the view of the opposite direction of the picture above. Again, it was a beautiful day in the mountains.
Remember, the whole reason for us to come to the park to begin with, was to look for elk to show Papa. We are halfway through the park and have yet to see any elk at all. All that we have come across has been turkeys! So we continued on with the buildings, which led us to the Caldwell House, built in 1903. The barn is built out in the field in front of the house. My son enjoyed sitting in the opening of the barn. As long as he didn’t know I was taking his picture, he was okay with his picture being taken. *wink*
I caught him off guard here, however, he was showing me that there were little doors in the floor of the barn. They opened to different sections of the bottom of the barn. I was told that this was for the family to push hay through the little doors to rooms below, to feed the animals. Please correct me if I am wrong. I did not do any research on that information given to me.
To get to the Caldwell House, you had to cross a bridge over the creek.
The bridge is a little bouncy, so the kids had fun walking back and forth over the bridge.
There is also another small bridge that crosses a wetland area. You can see the kids looking at an area where the ground had been torn up. We were not for sure if it was caused by the elk or wild boars.
This spring house was out to the side of the home. It looked to have been built right over the spring. While our kids have seen a different spring house, this was the first one they had seen that actually had water running directly under it.
We had decided since we had not seen any elk and the day was moving along , we would go ahead and leave the park. Which means we did not stop to see the Palmer Chapel in the park. I am hoping to go back soon so that I can take more pictures. As we were headed out of the park, there was one lone elk on the back side of the field. I am very thankful we had a zoom lens with us. She was so close to the tree line and the brown grass was so high, that I didn’t think we would get a good picture of her. It was hard choosing which one to post!
There was an abundance of turkeys in the park. I think they decided to head there to miss being on a table this Thanksgiving!
Our biggest surprise was almost at the opening of the park. On the side of the road and in a ditch, was this beauty. He was about 20 feet from our van. We stopped and took pictures and just watched him eat for several minutes. The elk is a gorgeous creature made by God! Just look at this wonderful creation! He looked so majestic just standing there. I am looking forward to when we can visit Cataloochee Valley again!