Monday, June 6, 2011

Great Smoky Mountains NP

Sunday before Memorial day we woke up super early, as in 3:00am and got ready to make the 6 hour drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We got on the road about 3:50am and had a 2 hour playlist of newly downloaded music from itunes. Ranging from Otis Redding, to Casey Abrams to Alabama and much more. What can I say? We have a varied taste in music. The drive didn't seem to take long at all, before we knew it we were in Knoxville, TN, looking for the next road to get us into Gatlinburg, the proverbial gateway to the Smokies. We took a wrong turn, completely missed a sign(pretty sure it didn't exist) and added an hour to our already ahead of schedule timeline.
Eventually, we made it back around and into Pigeon Forge and then Gatlinburg. I won't go into too much detail about how much I hate places like Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. We braved the traffic and hoards of people and finally made it into the park. The only free national park in the US, only to find more hoards of people. We thought it might be busy due to the holiday and gorgeous weather and with the help of free admission. Well, everyone and their great-grandmothers second cousin twice removed was there.

We drove around and stopped at a few places for pictures and our packed picnik lunch and rode on to find things to explore.

At one point we pulled over to get a jackass jeep from riding our ass. 25mph in the park douchbag! I'm trying to enjoy the scenery. There was a small trail into the woods and we decided to check it out. It involved a few water crossings, lots of mosquitos and pretty water.

This might be my favorite picture from the trip, can you see Andrew in the back karate-chopping bugs? Ha!!

As soon as you get under the trees it's a humid, hair attacking rainforest atmosphere and I quickly threw my hair in a ponytail and realized from then on my pictures would not be so attractive. Oh well.
Lots of millipedes. Gross, but colorful.
We drove all the way west until we reached a section of one-way rode through Cades Cove, it takes about an hour depending on the amount of cars and if you see any bears. No bears this time, just beautiful meadows.

By the time we got back to the beginning of the park we really hadn't done any hiking and felt like we just drove through the most visited park in America. We decided to head out into Gatlinburg and back into the park to visit a waterfall a park ranger suggested.

We hiked to Grotto Falls, 1.4 is the one-way distance, and it was uphill both ways! Just kidding, it was uphill getting there. I only got injured once, climbing over a muddy, slippery tree and bruised my foot and knee, and got a nice gooseegg on my foot. That's what I get for hiking in flip-flops(I was going for lightweight).

We are planning a weeklong camping trip in the Smokies for late September, hoping to avoid some crowds and spend more time exploring the non-paved roads of this beautiful park.


  1. Such pretty pictures! Glad y'all had a good time :)

  2. Thanks Heather, we loved it!

  3. Glad you had fun but please remember not everyone is there for the scenery,we have jobs to get to,going for other things as well and the vast majority of ill will in the park is due to some wanting to enjoy others needing to get somewhere so all we can do is be courteous and if someone is riding your "ass" then pull over because they are trying to tell you I need to get by. Thanks from a local that sees bussing on the horizon--------------.

  4. Thanks for the comment, but if you drive through there often you know there is a speed limit. Since we were already going over the speed limit, we did pull over. If you read the post, you'd see that.
    Thanks for stopping by!