You will need a bicycle to join the group at 6:30am. The national park rangers do not come to open the gate to Cades Cove until "sunrise" which is around 7:30am. Here are the HUGE perks of biking in with camera tucked away in a backpack...
1. We have no traffic around us until around 8am.
2. We are able to be deep into the Cove with cameras at first light. Impossible if using a car.
3. We greatly increase our odds of spotting bucks (in rut this time of year = sparring) out in the fields by having our sense of hearing unimpaired by motorists.
4. We have the early morning air (hopefully not too frigid) in our face. Good for the soul.
5. We breathe in a deep sense of silence and adventure and photography.
It is advisable to have some form of light, either on your bike or simply a headlamp. That said, when we set off just a few minutes after 6:30am, you may feel that you have enough light in the sky not to need it. But it never hurts to have it with you. Helmet (don't be dumb and forget it). Tripod? I will strap my tripod to my camera pack, but only do so if you are confident with your pack. It's always advisable to have a tripod at first light if possible.
Obviously, this particular Meetup has a physical element (biking on a paved/gravel road, hilly in places) that is not suitable for everyone. If you would still like to join the group by car, you can likely find us on Hyatt Lane (inside Cades Cove) between 8:30 and 10am. Remember gate does not open to vehicles until around 7:30am.
Fire off your questions here on the Meetup website. We MUST KNOW you are coming by your RSVP. Please do so. Thanks! Looking forward to our #microadventure