When I used to work for the Park Service as a seasonal employee, I had a bit of a love / hate relationship with ironweed (the purple blooms you see above).  When it came in nice and thick in the fields of the park, it was pretty… but it also signified that Summer was waning, and I'd be going home soon; back to real life.  While I no longer have a seasonal job, I still get that feeling when I see the purple in the fields, and then it starts to fade.  One the one hand, I know the beautiful colors of Fall are on their way… but on the other, I know the cold weather is soon to follow.  This Summer has been an extremely fun one, and I'm honestly sad to see it go!

   Major hat tip to my friend Bill Foster for pointing out this spot to me.  He has a fantastic shot from this same location that inspired this shot.  It's funny that I had driven past it a million times taking the back roads to the Sugarlands area of the Great Smoky Mountains, but I guess I just never looked over there, or never saw it in the right light until I saw Bill's image.  Bill was kind enough to share some insights on the location of the barn and how to get there "safely".  Thanks Bill!

–Dan Thompson


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