The past few days have consisted of a trek inland. I spent nights in Greenville, Raleigh, Greensboro, and Asheville.
At some point in that trek I noticed signs for the "Country Doctor Museum". I was curious so I followed the signs off the highway(264?) and into the small town where the museum resides. The tour was $5 and included many interesting bygone medical tools, devices, and "cures". Above is a steel lung; above that, some Civil War prosthetics. There were also live leeches floating around a jar. The tour guide explained that leeches require very little maintenaince. You simply drop in "chicken liver" every few weeks and they're set.
Asheville had a neat little downtown run that reminded me of Brattleboro, VT -- lots of coffee shops, art galleries, locally-owned businesses, and so on. I walked around it with the intention to take pictures, but a passing cop, upon seeing my camera, warned me that the streets weren't "as safe as they look" and that I should put it away. So I did.
Leaving Asheville, I finally hit some mountains. The van held its own on the long inclines, albeit with abysmal gas mileage, but that's unavoidable. It was stressful on the curvy roads, what with freight trucks bearing down on me. I always feel bad holding up the trucks, but I figure it'd be much worse for everybody if I tipped over in front of them.
The part of the Smokey Mountains I hiked was along the northern flank. The colors and scents reminded me of the Adirondacks in the late spring. It was very warm; I had to take off my jacket to be comfortable.
BELOW: This lagoon was the goal of the hike. The picture doesn't honor just how truly emerald green it was.