Author: Don McGowan

  1. Image for the Asking: How Old Is Old?

    Image for the Asking: How Old Is Old? Story and image by Don McGowan “How high is up?” This is a question that children have harangued adults about unceasingly over the years. It’s one that can seem sublimely foolish—at least as most of those adults would see it. There is, too, a second inquiry which often accompanies the first: “How old is old?& Read more...
  2. Image for the Asking: Views Through History at Campbell Overlook

    Image for the Asking: Views Through History at Campbell Overlook Story and image by Don McGowan As you stand high above the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River running through Sugarlands Valley and look across the thickly forested slope beyond it, you’ll see the rocky prominence known as Bullhead. A careful visual examination along the lithic line tracing the ridge reveals the likely presence of a Read more...
  3. Image for the Asking: A Little River That’s Not Really So Little

    Image for the Asking: A Little River That’s Not Really So Little Story and image by Don McGowan There is a place in the Smokies known as Collins Gap. It is where the western slope of Mount Collins tumbles down to meet the eastern slope of Kuwahi (Clingmans Dome). In other words, it’s a high place along the crest of the Smokies ridge, somewhere around 5,723 feet. Below the north face of Collins Gap, Read more...
  4. Image for the Asking: The Many Connections of a Small, Nameless Stream

    Image for the Asking: The Many Connections of a Small, Nameless Stream Story and image by Don McGowan Although you may not be familiar with it, the wet weather creek in this image is associated with the founding history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As far as I know, the stream at this point in its journey has no name, though it will eventually merge its waters into Walker Camp Prong—half of West Read more...
  5. Image for the Asking: A Winter Wonderland—Whither the Darling Buds of May?

    Image for the Asking: A Winter Wonderland—Whither the Darling Buds of May? Story and image by Don McGowan When I left my home state of Georgia more than a quarter century ago to live in the shadow of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Boyd’s Creek, Tennessee, in 1993 to be exact), photographing snow in the park was a straightforward affair. If your vehicle was a four-wheel drive, you drove up to the entrance Read more...
  6. Image for the Asking: A Reflection on the Nature of Things

    Image for the Asking: A Reflection on the Nature of Things Story and image by Don McGowan It is so tempting, given the amazing literal beauty of the geography of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to become a photographic documentarian of these wonderful mountains and valleys, complete with their complex, diverse array of life forms and habitats. To do this, however, would be, in my humble opinion, Read more...
  7. Image for the Asking: Seeing the Forest Within the Trees

    Image for the Asking: Seeing the Forest Within the Trees Story and image by Don McGowan There are many folks I know who readily assert that their favorite season in the Smokies is winter. They claim this not because there are relatively fewer tourists streaming into Sevier and Blount counties, or back and forth over Newfound Gap from Cherokee and Bryson City. They make this assertion for the very Read more...
  8. Image for the Asking: A Place Called Mulberry

    Image for the Asking: A Place Called Mulberry Story and image by Don McGowan There is a great mountain in the heart of the Smokies. It is called Kuwahi. It has this name because it is a place where mulberry trees were found; in Tsalagi—the language of the Cherokee—Kuwahi means “Mulberry Place.” To the Cherokee people it is sacred; and to the European settlers who Read more...
  9. Image for the Asking: When the Mountains Speak in Smoke

    Image for the Asking: When the Mountains Speak in Smoke All parks need friends. In fact, I think it’s reasonably safe to say that without lots of friends, parks as we think of them, especially our national parks, would not exist. When it comes to our western parks, the simplified story line runs this way: Those spaces were created from lands already within the public domain; we the people Read more...
  10. Image for the Asking: Carter Shields Cabin

    Image for the Asking: Carter Shields Cabin Story and image by Don McGowan The census records for the year 1850 tell us that Cades Cove—that most idyllic valley in Blount County, Tennessee, in what is now the southwestern corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park—was populated with 135 families accounting for 625 hearty souls. Six years earlier, on February 5, 1844, the Read more...

10 Items

Show per page