The kids wanted to see a bear. Mike was curious about the town of Gatlinburg. I looked forward to some beautiful scenery. So, we decided to spend a few days in the Smoky Mountains.
The drive to our campground—Camping in the Smokies—was not the peaceful drive through mountain forest like we anticipated. Instead, we were treated to very busy traffic and visual noise while driving through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. It was craptacular! By the time we set up camp, we were ready to just veg for a while. Mike and I did make a quick trip to the local grocery store (along with another 1,000 or so people) for a few grocery basics, but that’s about it.
Next morning we left around 6:45am and headed into the Smoky Mountain National Park. Our morning plan was to drive Cades Cove loop and we hoped to see some wildlife. We did see a momma turkey and her 8 poults crossing the road and a half dozen white tail deer; but, no bear.
Unfortunately, the long winding drive to Cades Cove, the ultra slow-moving traffic through the loop, and my borderline feeling of car/altitude sickness did not add up to a very positive adventure. In addition, we had the pleasure of wading through the crowds at the visitor station and driving through the busy, gaudy streets of Gatlinburg to return to our trailer. The rest of the day was spent swimming, catching up with laundry, playing cards, naps, school work, client work, etc.
Late afternoon, Mike and I were lamenting how our visit to the Smokys was turning out to be a major let down—the crowds, the obnoxiousness of the towns, my issues with headaches, no bear sightings, the heat, etc. What could we do to salvage this trip?
Storybird has been wanting to ride a horse since the start of our one-year adventure, and our timing always seemed to be off to make that happen for her. This morning, we finally got her (and the rest of the family) on the back of a horse. I’ll let Storybird fill in the details of the experience in another post. I’ll just say that spending money on family adventures like this sure beat a mortgage payment!