Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smoky Mountain Trip

The Howards at Laurel Falls 

We took an awesome trip to the Great Smoky Mountains last weekend. We all had a great time. We went hiking, creek jumping, picnicking, shopping in Gatlinburg, out for ice cream (twice...don't judge me, we were on vacation!), and all in all had a blast.
Mommy and her favorite Maggie

Maggie right before she fell in

Laurel Falls is a fun place to play

Maggie has the best seat in the house to Laurel Falls
Cam and I took turns toting the girls on the trails. (Okay, Cam did most of the toting, but I did help!) Handily, the frame pack he bought for an elk hunt can double as a child carrier. The girls enjoyed hopping off and down. We hike Laurel Falls and Chimney Tops. Chimney Tops is some business, let me tell you.  I did not tote much on that hike. It was some serious stuff. I was really impressed by how much the girls hiked on their own two feet. Kids have so much energy!
Enjoying rock jumping and picnicking

Three bear cubs in Cades Cove
Morels from home frying with venison brats
We were planning to stay at Elkmont campground, but alas, when we arrived they were full.  So, we moved on down the road a piece to Cades Cove.  While driving the 11 mile look around Cades Cove the next day, we got to see three bear cubs and their mama. So. Cool. The wildlife are practically tame. We got very close to deer, turkey, bears, skinks, snakes, and birds. Fun stuff. If I had to guess, I'd say the girls' favorite part was becoming "Tennessee Rock Jumping Experts". There were so many creek and river beds to be found. They got really good at jumping from stone to stone up, down, around, and every which way between.

View from inside the tent
Maggie munches lunch at our picnic spot
Silly family in the Smokies
Mommy dictating Lila's journal entry\

Lila's journal entry 4-13-12 (shared with permission)
     "Next, we got to the campsite, and we couldn't find room! So, Daddy searched and searched and
     finally we found one. And, we goed scooting. It was glorious. I thought the Smoky Mountains
     wouldn't look like it was. The moral of this writing is have an open mind when you don't expect all of
     the adventure to the Smoky Mountains or any other mountains." Amen, Lila, Amen.

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