The fog was so thick this morning you could get lost. Not seriously, call-out-the-Boy-Scouts kind of lost, but miss-your-destination-and-have-to-wander-around lost for sure.

One if the great surprises of moving to the mountains was the water. Mountains are constantly dripping wet.

Here’s a secret tourist bureaus don’t advertise – The Great Smoky Mountains are the only land-locked temperate rainforest in the continental U.S. The “smoke” isn’t smoke at all, but the rising fog of evaporating rain. Technically it’s caused by:

Orographic lift occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain. As the air mass gains altitude it quickly cools down adiabatically, which can raise the relative humidity to 100% and create clouds and, under the right conditions, precipitation. ~ Wikipedia

In other words, it rains a lot.

By comparison, Portland averages 37.07 inches a year, Seattle gets 38.25 inches and Olympia a drenching 50.79 inches. Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I now live gets 54.52 inches of the wet stuff.

I spend a lot of time looking at the gray underbelly of clouds.

The proper perspective helps. There are lots of upsides.

Class 5 whitewater is everywhere. As are clear, rushing mountain streams. Hydroelectric power is plentiful. We don’t fight each other over H2O to turn desert into lawns like L.A.

Flash floods happen but we never get the town inundating  torrents of the Mississippi down stream. The rocks drain quickly so mosquitos aren’t a big problem.

And it’s very green. Ooo and aah green. So many shades of green it’s stunning.

It’s one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth. Salamanders apparently love it. There are more types of salamanders here than anywhere else on the planet. An estimated 700 per acre.

There’s so much cloud cover and humidity that we supposedly look younger and suffer the effects of UV radiation less than denizens of the high and dry West. Fewer wrinkles.

But still, it rains.

So, when I need an improved perspective I like to get above it all. And I try to remember, it’s always sunny somewhere . . .



Photos by Dennis Ritchie