Looking west in the Smokies
Continuing up the ridgeline, the Trail walks up into subdued vegetation -- shorter in the more exposed sections of the ridge and trail.
The humidity and pollution gives much of the Southern Appalachian chain a bit of a hazy appearance in the warmer months. Pollution wasn't always an issue when colonists were pushing into native American territory. Even back then, the humidity hazed the views, hence the origin of the name Smokie Mountains, 'though that haziness is hardly confined to just the southern border area of North Carolina and Tennessee.