Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Great Smoky Mountain Vacation 2011 (Part 1)

Lynn and I took our first vacation (just the two of us) since very early in our marriage. We have taken lots of ministry related trips and gone on vacation with several different friends and family but this was something that different, just the two of us.

Our destination was the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee just outside the Pigeon Forge/Gaitlinburg area. Our goal/interest was not in the shows and tourist trap stuff but in hiking mountain trails, I'm sure the shows and attractions were good but I know they were very expensive and we're not all that interested in that stuff.

After arriving at our very nice accommodations, the Westgate Smoky Mountains Retreat, we enjoyed a good supper and got prepared for the next days activities. That evening, we talked with an employee, who was an avid hiker, who gave us some good info and we were set to get started in the morning.

After purchasing a book about great day hikes, Lynn and I took off for our first outing. We arrived at the trail head of Rainbow Falls and began a wonderful walk ... 3/4 of the way up we realized that we had not brought all of the supplies we might need so we turned around and headed back down. On the way down I rolled my ankle and we saw a bear at about 100 yards. So Cool!

Because of a very sore/stiff ankle, that was all of the trekking for Saturday. We ended up driving to Clingmans Dome. A very short walk ( only a 1/2 mile, but straight up!). On the way down we saw a bear at about 20 yards and again ... So Cool! Here is more info on Clingmans Dome: At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top. It was a very tough walk!

After church and lunch on Sunday we drove out to Middle Prong trail and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and we got back to our room well after dark ... nothing left to do but go sit in the hot tubs and relax!

More to come.....

Pastor Steve

Some of the information in this blog is taken directly from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park website:
Clingmans Dome Trail
Clingmans Dome Base

Clingmans Dome

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