This morning I left my very comfortable Hampton Inn in Murphy, NC and headed Northwest to Townsend, a little town that serves as a non-commercialized gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This as opposed to the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and others that are to be avoided at all costs during the peak fall season.  It was raining and stormy as I drove the Foothills Parkway and still pretty foggy and wet in Cades Cove, but it cleared up nicely during the afternoon and it was nice to have some weather variations for my photography.