This pic is taken from the top of Fontana Dam, which is right before you walk into the Smokies for the first time. We had just handed Rooney off to Curtis, who would be boarding him while we hiked through the park (dogs aren't allowed), and Serial and I were gearing up for 5-6 days of what promised to be epic hiking. I remember seeing the sign to start that we were entering the Smokies and thinking, "it's finally here!" and then starting that beautiful, gradual climb into the park.
We experienced all kinds of weather (thunder hail!) and slept in shelters (our only shelters for the whole hike - Rooney isn't a fan). We saw views that, when I close my eyes today, I can still transport myself back to. The Smokies lived up to their expectations and I think of them every time I see this picture.