The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

After Montreat and the Biltmore ….. on Friday we finally were able to check off AB’s bucket list item for our travel year: Horseback riding!

All that rain Wed and Thurs brought in a cold front and it was 33 degrees Friday morning when we left for the stables!

Elsa had visited the tops of the mountains! The higher we got, the more white there was!

I didn’t even realize the stables were right in the National Park. Smokemont Stables did a great job and it was such a good experience!

Our horses were Mindy, Apache, Cherokee, Shadow, and Santos.

They were perfectly paired for us… especially Me and B. Shadow, B’s horse, was a Daddy who wasn’t in any rush. At all. Ever. They placed him ahead of my horse Santos so that Shadow wouldn’t fall too far behind. The problem was that Santos is a fast horse and was disgusted at Shadows lack of speed and having to be in the back. I personally think we should have just let Shadow and B sloth their way through the trail… or let Santos continue to push Shadows hiney with his nose… but I obeyed my instruction and kept in the back of the line and 10 feet behind. The new problem now is that Santos and I commiserated so well that now I want him. I bet he could fit in Woody? πŸ€”

It was a beautiful, quiet trail and the colors were great!

At the turn-around point there was a pretty waterfall and we were happy to give our tails and knees a break!

We finally discovered the trick to getting AB to thoroughly enjoy trails…. put her on a horse!

We are so grateful for this experience. AB says it was her favorite experience of the whole trip!

The road through the Great Smoky National Park was closed due to high wind damage so that was a bummer but we enjoyed seeing the elk! They’ve been reintroduced to the park the last couple of decades. We had no idea they were in NC too! We did not see any stags like we did in Yellowstone.

We also visited the Mingus Mill (that uses a water powered turbine instead of a water wheel) and made sure to buy some corn meal there for Gramm Crackers Bday present! This mill was built in 1886!

And the Blue Ridge Parkway!!! I hope you enjoy these amazing views with us! The colors were so amazing. After years of missing it – I finally experienced FALL to the fullest this year! For a week at least. πŸ™‚

All the “waves” were so amazing looking!

Saturday the road through the smokies was back open. In some places, the “smoke” fog looked soo much like a lake in between the peaks:

We bundled up and found the Appalachian Trail so that someday when RR or the girls hike the trail from Maine to Georgia – they can look back at their first visit to it! πŸ™‚

Then we went on one of the most popular hikes in the park. Alum Cave and Bluffs on the Tennessee side of the park.

It was for sure the most crowded hike we’ve been on! The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park after all!

It was a rough start. It was cold, AB’s still getting over a nasty cough, we’re out of our hike mode, and foresty hikes with lots of mud trees rocks leaves water take a lot more attention than just regular walking. But we pushed on even though it felt like we stopped every 30 seconds for the first mile haha. We finally got into a groove.

It was such a pretty hike with streams and bridges

and then this amazing look out:

And these bluffs a little above the lookout:

I love when we have great conversations on our hikes. They are often on the way down! For me the distances traveled and work it takes to have these adventures are so worth those moments.

Also moments like this are so worth it all:

Ha !!!!! Thank you thank you. I consider it a real feat to exhaust a teenage boy that well.

To end our mountain week… it was below freezing Friday and Saturday night!!! Like 20 degrees! So we were back to antifreeze in Woody and using jugs of water.

Woody got his first icicle!

It was a great last adventure in Woody for 2019!

11 thoughts on “The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  1. Wendy L. Hemphill

    So glad AB’s Bucket List had horseback riding. What a beautiful place to do it. Looked magical and I’m no kind of horse person.
    Loved how God put the brakes on ya, Randi. πŸ˜‚

  2. Pam Mullen

    You truly captured the essence of the great “smoky” mountains. It is beautiful in the brilliant sunlight and the fog! We are so blessed in NC with the mountains and the coast! It’s been a thrilling 2019 following you guys. Hope to see you again soon. Love ya!

  3. Daniel Suppiger

    Hi rookieroadsters!

    Love to look and read every story of your big journey through your great country!
    It gives us a more detailed view to the USA and I saved already many places you visited into my google maps for my bucket list… :-). Hope to come to the USA soon again.

    What opposite of temperatures, when we met in Moab and now…

    Keep on writing, we are following you.

    Best wishes from Switzerland!
    Daniel and family

    Special greetings from my two girls A + R to AB + E:-)

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