Join Field Editor Greg Passmore on a tour of his backyard— the Great Smoky Mountains.
Smoky Mountain majesties surround us, and we use our cameras to capture them every chance we get.
There is no place like home in beautiful Bryson City. My wife, Carla, and I are blessed to live next door to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have loved the mountains since I was very young. It is just a peaceful place to be. Before I moved here, I lived about 50 minutes away in Nantahala. The job I held for 20 years came to an end when the textile plant closed. So I applied for and accepted a job with the Town of Bryson City, in the water and wastewater field. After a month on the job, I met a lady working in the Town Office and asked her on a date. We dated for a year and married in November 2008. Sometimes good things happen to you later in life. Carla is my sweet Smoky Mountain girl, born and raised in Bryson City. Before Carla’s dad passed away he gave her some land that we could live on, and we are in the process of fixing up a home on the property. We have some nice views from the highest point, looking out on our beloved Smoky Mountains. Like the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is,” and my heart is here with my true love, Carla, in these gorgeous mountains. We don’t have any children, but we have a dog named Sassy. Carla and I took her and her brother in as pups when someone set them out. We lost Jake last year; Sassy is 9 years old now. A few years ago Carla bought me my first camera so we could take photos together in the park and elsewhere in the area. I don’t think she ever thought I would love photography as much as she does, but I can stay out and take pictures of God’s beauty until the sun goes down and then start over again the next morning. Together, we seek out scenery, waterfalls, churches, barns, mills and wildlife all over our corner of the country. We take every chance we can now to get outside with our cameras. Our retirement plan is to see more places and photograph them to bring joy to people’s lives. In the future we hope to put together a book of our best photos. No matter what sort of activity you wish to pursue on your Smoky Mountain adventure, from fishing to photography, Bryson City is a great starting point. Folks are very helpful, and there’s so much to see.
Carla and I like walking along hiking trails in the Smokies; there are hundreds to explore. You can either take a short stroll or trek along part of the Appalachian Trail. There are also horseback-riding and biking trails, with plenty of places to camp. When you want to get on the water, you can spend the day in the Nantahala Gorge, with 8 miles of whitewater rafting. If you prefer a slower pace, there are plenty of places to take a canoe, kayak or paddleboard. You could go to the Tuckasegee River, which flows through downtown Bryson City— we always see people fly-fishing there—or take a short trip out to Fontana Lake. We love all four seasons around our home, but autumn is our favorite with all the amazing hues on the mountains. I always say that the Smokies are the good Lord’s coloring book during the fall. If you get a chance, we hope you will visit our part of the country. Your memories of a journey here will stay with you forever. You might even see us out there trying to get that special photo.
Greg loves to capture Bryson City’s majestic autumn scenery.
Wild turkeys in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Paddlers on the Nantahala River cross under a swinging bridge; foliage lights up the Deep Creek Recreation Area.