Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Smokies trip always different, enjoyable

Traditional annual picture on visit to Smokies

Our annual summer trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes on different dynamics each year.

A lot of the time we repeat many of our enjoyable activities -- hiking, tubing, enjoying the wildlife, eating, and taking our traditional pictures at the park sign outside Gatlinburg. We also managed to shoot a few pictures here and there.

In years past, when our two sons were considerably younger, we would often go to the intersection where the park road splits with one turn going into Townsend and the other to Cades Cove.

Two streams collide at that point and the resulting connect offers good tubing and lounging around. Those without a brain, and the parents without a brain who allowed their offspring without a brain to do it,  climb up rocks overlooking the river and jump off into the stream some 40 or 50 feet below.

The Park Service has tried to stop those shenanigans.

Family shot at Laurel Falls
We would spend an afternoon there, then go to the Cades Cove picnic area for supper and then  make the 11-mile one-way loop. Sometimes we would cut out and take the Rich Mountain Road, a one-way trip that goes over the mountain to the Townsend area.

Either itinerary usually ended up in Townsend and an ice cream treat.

This past July 4 holiday, we managed to do a lot of eating, took the Laurel Falls trail (with myself and two sons helping wifey make it), watched our children and grandchildren tube, ate chili at the Cades Cover picnic area and of course posed for a picture at the park sign.

The place in Townsend where we used to get ice cream years earlier didn't close their doors until 9 p.m.. Then they changed it to 8 p.m.

Roasting marshmallows for s'mores
After the Cades Cove stop this year, we went there and arrived at 7:40 p.m. Guess what? Yeah. They were already   closed. Now it was a 7:30 p.m. closing time.

Another tradition gone awry.

Well, there was a freezer with ice cream at the Elkmont Campground store, of which we availed ourselves. Pretty good, and not as expensive.

Some traditions continue, others fall by the wayside and new ones are added.

For the past few years, the new tradition was not only having our sons with us, but their children as well.

Its nice to be able and kick back and watch them take on the responsibilities and go through the same activities with their children as we did with them in years past.

There's already talk of getting together again next year.

Maybe we'll add some new, enjoyable and unforgettable traditions.

Next post: July 26, 2011

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