Sunday, January 4, 2015

Paradise Found: Gatlinburg and Beyond

After a very long trip across the country, I have fallen in love with Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It's a ski town with the gondolas to the top of the mountain, views of the Great Smoky Mountains and a trout stream that runs through the town.

We first visited Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, a wonderful tour of beautifully designed exhibits along with interactive exhibits for the kids to get up close and personal with sharks and rays. Next we went to the Ripleys' Believe It or Not and running through a cold rain in the middle of the Smoky Mountains was a memorable experience.

The next day was an experience we almost missed. As we were driving up the road into the Great Smoky Mountains we realized the higher we got the more ice was hampering travel. Carefully we proceeded but they closed the road as several cars wrecked both going up and coming down.

It's hard to impress a fifteen year old but think he was extremely impressed with the landscape. The snow capped mountains and the sprawling snow covered landscapes offered so many opportunities to photograph, unfortunately for me my camera was not working and my son was the photographer for the trip.

We finally ended up on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, at an altitude of 5046. I wanted to walk the Appalachian trail but it was very cold and my son was more interested in having a snowball fight.

My original intent for this trip was to explore many
waterfalls, I mapped them out for weeks but you must be open and allow for change when you''re on a  road trip especially with a stubborn teen intent on fishing. Instead of waterfalls we both got our exercise walking the lengths of a
stream, he fished and I just relaxed and followed along.

I am definitely planning another trip out to the Great Smokies only just like Yosemite perhaps a trip to Gatlingburg for a week in the Smokies-this is why we do such a large scope of a trip; exploring for later going back to specific places to enjoy. The Great Smoky Mountains would definitely be one of my favorite places we've visited.

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