Our first multi-day stop was in The Great Smoky Mountains! The beginning of our trip has definitely seen some moments of frustrations (Bryce forgot all of his shirts!), but it's also seen some moments that I'll treasure, time with friends being high on that list.
We've learned lessons already on our trip, one of them being to always, always, always, check a map instead of relying on navigation! As we came close to The Great Smoky Mountains, and the excitement was growing to meet up with our dear friends, the Parsons, we ended up driving straight through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg! To spend that amount of time, towing the Airstream, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic was aggravating and took time away from being with friends, especially when it could have been avoided (hello, bypass)!
We did eventually make it to our campsite in Elkmont, where we were next to our friends who brought their pop up. The beauty of our friendship with them is that no matter how much time has passed, we pick up where we left off, for the adults as well as the children! My children were so happy to hang out with them as were we.
We weren't there for as long as we would have liked, but were glad to have what time we did have. We spent time around the fire, played in the creek, and hiked a mountain!
The hike up Le Conte Mountain was challenging (for me) and exhausting as it was five miles up, which was at times very steep and rocky, and then down those same five miles. It took us a little over 7 hours to do the whole thing! It has never felt so good to take a shower and go to bed as it did that night! What a way to start our trip!
(Alum Cave Bluff)
The views were pretty amazing at the top!
After an amazing breakfast of bacon pancakes that Kathleen made, we headed out for our next destination... Hot Springs National Park!