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Pyle intro column re Smokies
Is We " are will the Hello damn." do or say l l o it never St. that motive power national on Ravings By Ernie Pyle The Itoving Reporter GATLINBURO, Tenn.--For four yeare I've fcean trying to get to the Great Smoky Jfoun- Uir.s National park and to write some masterful masterful columns about the astounding manner in which nature splattered her contours and evolutions evolutions over this pars of __ . (he globe. But I monkeyed around and monkeyed around, and the first thing I knew here was President Roosevelt down here dedicating the thing, and stealing all my glory. But I just figured, well, the mountains are still here and the words are still in the dictionary, so I might as well come on anyway and compose a little deathless literature on the Smokies,, even if Mr. Roosevelt did beat me to the draw. So here we arc in Gatlinburg. the north'en- trance to the great park. Gatlinburg once consisted of five families. But today, thanks to tourist money, it is an amazingly charming little city, oozing with handicraft shops and tasteful inns and lovely stone houses and saddle horses and pretty girls in jodhpurs Gatlinburg lies in a cup, and low wooded mountains rise on every side, and a little river runs behind the town, and the ma:n street goes a little uphill and around a couple of bends, and it is all just like you'd want a mountain resort to be. Right now is the peak of the fall color season, and the mountains are aflame with red and yellow and green,-and anybody who can see them without some kind of a gladness gladness at being alive must be a dull soul indeed. Centuries ago, white pioneers from England and Scotland came Into these mountains and set up their homes. They were so isolated that our so-called progress largely passed them by. They grew up to be a little race distinct. There is no denying that a mountain man is different from a plains or city man. I can't exactly tell you the difference, but there is something basically rugged in his character that would be nice to have within yourself. There are old men in these mountains who feel embarrassed and naked if the long rifle did not rest on its nails in the wall. You can walk into the hills right behind Gatlinburg and still hear even the children saying "hit" for "it," and "heered" for "heard." You can still find leather tanning in the homes, and weaving and spinning, and people who make their own furniture, and think it a sin to tend garden on Sundays. It was to preserve a little of this for- posterity, posterity, and also to open up the magnificent scenery scenery of She Smokies to the great tax-paying public, that the Great Smokies National park' yas created. It started in 1923, when the states of Tennessee Tennessee and North Carolina began buying mountain land from the big timber companies.' companies.' John D. Rockefeller, jr., played an important part. He matched, dollar for dollar, dollar, every cent put up by the two states. In 1928, Congress authorized the establishment establishment of a park. The land already bought was turned over to the federal government, and the government itself bought more. The National Park service actually moved in and took charge about 10 years ago. Today the park is well up among the older western parks.in the facilities it has created for the public, such as roads, camp grounds, hiking and horse trails. As far as I can see .every thing has been tastefully done. You have a feeling that the park is "right." 7 ,T4ls. jr.csfc-visitors to the park will run more than 800,030. it is open all year, but summer and fall are the big seasons. In June, July and .August you can't even find a place to sleep in Gatlinburg if you arrive late. The Great Smokies park is roughly 54 miles long and'19 miles wide at the widest point. It is oval irTshape. Except for a few high level- pastures, it is tremendously rugged throughout- throughout- Its entirety. It has 16 peaks more than 6,000 feet high. Vegetation is lush, clear to the top of the. highest peak. There is no tim'cerline in these mountains. Balsam and spruce grow thick in the upper regions. In the summer the rainfall rainfall Is almost tropical, and in winter heavy snows blanket the trees and slopes into a fairyland. Almost constantly a gray haze hangs like a thin veil over the pile after pile'of far, high ridges. That haze is why these mountains are called the Smokies. They say that no one knows for sure what causes this haze, but explanation credits it to tiny particles of moisture moisture rising from the heavily-soaked vegetation. The park is half in Tennessee and half in North Carolina." The high, sharp backbone of the Smokies cut the park in two, and along this backbone runs the state line. A horse trail follows this bapkbone the length of the park, but there Is no motor road up there. A fine, macadam highway crosses the park, from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, on the Carolina Ride. And a few gravel roads- stab short distances distances into the hills .from several entrances. Aside from that, the public must take to or horseback to see the vast, beckoning interior interior of the park. And since taking to foot one of life's accomplishments which I am most prodigous at. to coin a phrase, we shall taka foot in a Herculean way about tomorrow.