November 20, 2015

Smoky Mountains.

The fourth weekend of October, we went camping with some friends to the Smoky Mountains.  The week before was tumultuous.  Our friends had a death in the family, Ken was out of town (actually, out of the country), Nick had just dislocated his wrist the week before, there were many other small setbacks that made us think--are we crazy to consider still going???   

I'm glad we did.  The weather was beautiful (the forecast predicted a wash-out) except for the last day.

Nicholas loves to make the pancakes at home AND while camping.
This girl just likes being wild and free!

We made a big mistake the first day.  We got into the campsite somewhere around 1 in the morning Saturday morning (after a later than intended start Friday afternoon, plus a delay for a popped tire for our friends).  By the time we'd all set up and finally climbed into bed it was sometime after 3am.  Of course, everyone still woke up at 7 am with the sun just like normal.

So, Saturday afternoon, we decided to go for a hike.  A 4.2 mile hike.  A 4.2 mile hike with tired kids and a very rocky, rooty trail.  (Honestly, the trail was awful it was so rocky and rooty).  About 3/4 of a mile in, Carrie was in full on meltdown mode yet wouldn't ride in the backpack.  Then Nick fell, tripping over a root.  And hurt his GOOD wrist.  I think he really just freaked himself out.  He refused to go any further.

So after trudging on for another 1/4 mi, Ken decided to turn back and take those two the the car while the rest of us carried on.

You can't beat climbing through a tree.
Closely Control Children.  That sign cracks me up!  Though I'm not sure this waterfall was worth the hike, haha!  The end of the trail had a really steep section going up, and then extremely steep going down.  Poor Peter, his little legs were so tired I had to hold his hands with a death grip to keep him from tripping every step.  But he made it!  And the way back, Nathan and Patrick took turns carrying him piggy-back until we got to spot he could walk on his own again.

After Mass on Sunday, we did a motor trail and then picked a hiking trail off of that.  Perfect for little people who needed a quick nap!
Speaking of naps, Carrie isn't in this picture because she was having one in the car.
The views were beautiful!  Perfect fall colors through the mountains.  The phone camera doesn't do it justice!
When we got to the hiking trail at the top of the mountain, Nick got a little worried again.  And Carrie was a little crabby again in spite of her nap.  So, I took those two and we explored down the other side of the mountain while the rest hiked.  We ended up stopping at the Ephraim Bales Cabin.

 My little piggy in the hogpen.

It was the perfect little diversion for the three of us.  A cabin and outbuildings to explore.  Access the the creek to make dams in and throw rocks.
Monday it rained all day.  We ended up spending the day wandering through shops in downtown Gatlinburg.  Other than having to put the camper away in the rain, it was perfect!  I'm looking forward to the next trip to the Smokies!

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