Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Great Smoky Mtns. Part II

We finally arrived at the Cove and were transported back in time as we toured the settlement.
The Main House
The Smokehouse
Inside the smokehouse
Grist Mill
Fresh Corn Meal
Old Barn
Inside the Barn
When leaving the Cove we saw several cars on the side of the road and thought we should stop to see what they were doing.  They had come upon several dear in the woods.  We walked closer to get a look and realized there was a deer bedded down right next to us!  We could have reached out and touched her.  A park ranger came to move us along so we wouldn't frighten her.  We were so excited to have been this close to a deer!
A day in the Great Smoky Mountains was a great way to end our stay in Pigeon Forge!  
We were in awe at all that God had created!
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

Great Smoky Mountains Part I

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and struck out on our next adventure!  This is the day we had been waiting on.  The day to go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Our first stop was Sugarlands Visitor Center.
We toured the museum and picked up a map then began the journey up the mountain, through the woods and around some VERY sharp curves.  I was hanging on to my door handle and holding my breath for much of the drive but loved every minute of it.
Claire's biggest fear...Skunks!  The one animal we hoped NOT to see on our hike.
Silly boy!
Why did the turkey cross the road?...To get to the other side.
Enjoying the view.
We really wanted to experience a waterfall and decided on this "easy" trail.  It was 1.3 miles up to the falls and 1.3 miles back down.  I'm not sure who labeled this trail "easy" but I was huffing and puffing on the way up.  Coming down was much easier! 
We finally reached our destination and the journey was worth the reward!  We found a beautiful waterfall and marveled at God's handiwork!
After successfully descending the mountain, we piled back into the car to continue our journey to Cade's Cove.
Canadian geese resting in the sun.
We stopped at the entrance to Cade's Cove to have a picnic lunch.
Male turkey strutting for the female.
One of the many churches we saw on our way to the Cove.
"I raise my eyes toward the mountains, Where will my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."  Psalm 121
Look what we found!
This black bear was grazing in the woods.  We were so excited to finally see a bear!
Stay tuned for Great Smoky Mountains Part II

Rainy Day Fun

Even when it rains and hails you CAN have fun on vacation!  We woke up to dark skies, trees bending in the wind, rain and then hail.  We watched the weather forecast and realized it would be storming off and on ALL day and it did.  It actually hailed three different times throughout the day but it was nothing more than pea size where we located.  Unfortunately, those in Gatlinburg that afternoon had baseball size hail and significant damage to their cars and windows.  Thankfully, we had left Gatlinburg thirty minutes before that hail storm.  God was watching out for us!

Our first destination in between the rain and hail was to the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg.  This was a very kid friendly, hands on aquarium and we really enjoyed spending the morning here out of the rain.

One of my favorites!
Stingray Bay

Penguin Playhouse

Shark Tank

Our next stop was lunch.  We ate at a delicious gourmet pizza restaurant called Mellow Mushroom.  If you have never been to Mellow Mushroom, you are missing out!  We tried the Philospher's Pizza and Loaded Baked Potato Pizza!  Yummy.
After filling our bellies, we traveled down to an amazing museum called Wonderworks.  We could have spent the whole day here.  The kids (and adults) were entertained the entire time.
The Ceiling
You can do it dad!
Google Earth...looking at Papa and Nana's house

Rock Climbing

Their favorite exhibit was the glow in the dark ropes course.  It was three stories high and they conquered their fears by going all the way to the top!  They loved it so much they did it twice!



Dare to use this restroom...
I tried...It worked!!

The rain moved out of the area by the afternoon so we stopped to ride go-carts on our way back to the cabin.
Claire's first time to drive a go-cart by herself.  I must say she was a safer driver than her dad.
Who says that rain can ruin a vacation??  We made the most of a rainy day and more importantly we made some great memories!!