May 22

Day 2 – The Mountains Rock!

What a day! Longest travel day ever. Having been out of school for two weeks now, the 7:20 AM alarm was like the gunshot at the beginning of a race. We piled into the van by 8:30 and set out to see the French Broad, which was a historic waterway during the 1800s. Dr. Carpenter then told us that the river flowed all the way to Louisiana to the Gulf, which was crazy for me to imagine. Then Dr. Basinger explained to us the native bird songs like the chirp-chirp and how the male birds use this to attract the females. Then, we set off onto the winding roads up the Great Smokey Mountains exploring elevations starting at 2,930 feet and checking out waterfalls, plants, and trees. We also collected several amphibious species and insects until we got up to Devil’s Courthouse where we took a hike all the way up to 5,720 feet, which was really cool looking over the peak seeing the forestry and how it stretched throughout the mountain and into other states like Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. These sites were amazing to see, and we even had the pleasure of having a low-calorie lunch break at the Devil’s Courthouse, which was just fun for us all.