We had been talking about a trip to Gatlinburg all year. It was our 10 year anniversary this fall, and I wanted to go somewhere. I’m always up for a trip to the mountains. I just had to convince Brian to go with me. 🙂 The girls did great during the whole trip, even though we missed a few naps along the way. So, I discovered how Ellie behaves without a nap: crazy hyper.
On the first day, we started with an easy hike to Laurel Falls. Sam wanted to explore every rock, stick, and leaf, so it took an usually long time to get up to the falls. We had to remind ourselves that we were on vacation and we had no time expectations. The trees had already lost all their leaves, but that meant we could see more without leaves in the way. The Falls was pretty crowded, so we ate our picnic lunch (packed in Sam’s trusty backpack) and headed back down without a family picture. But not before Brian almost had a heart attack. The waterfall was a series of steep waterfalls. The picture below was the first one, but if you turned around, there was another one right behind you. All Sam wanted to do was run and jump all over those slippery rocks. Talk about a scare for a protective parent!
We rode the tram down the mountain that night to have dinner. And, we had a sundae on Sunday! That is one of Sam’s all time favorite things. The next day, we shopped at the Outlets. No pictures from that trip, but we came back home and Sam had some art time. She drew her Iron Bowl Prediction (completely unsolicited) to one proud papa.
On the last full day, we made the drive up to Clingman’s Dome. As we were driving, the temperature continually dropped. Eventually, we started seeing snow on the sides of the road. We were told that Hurricane Sandy dropped 34″ at the high elevations! It was still there! Brrr, it was about 42° at the top. Sunny, but cold. We headed out on our hike to Andrews Bald. It was an ambitious hike with 2 small kids, but I thought we could do it. We saw plenty of snow on that hike, and it led to an awesome clearing in the woods. We again ate our picnic lunch with the phenomenal view of the Fontana Reservoir. Brian and Ellie were troupers on the way back to the car. He carried her on his shoulders the whole way!
And to end a great trip in one of the best National Parks, I watched the sunrise from the living room. We had a great view, but I’ll need to talk with Brian about how I’m supposed to take a picture of a sunrise. I would bet it’s something about Manual and setting exposure. Until next time, Smokies! I can’t wait!