Tuesday, August 20, 2013

World traveler's death delays this week's post

Due to the death of my 87-year-old mother, Helen Skupien, this week, I will not have a post. My mother liked to travel and it apparently rubbed off on me.

 Look for us again on Sept. 3, 2013.

My mother relaxes on our screen porch a few months ago

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Third time should be a charm

Cades Cove picnic area. Timed exposure while zooming lens

The lure of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park area continues to pull on me.

Not out of the mountains for two weeks, and we're already planning to go back in early October.

That's when the color is suppose to start becoming vibrant.

We don't know if we'll hit it at the right time for the best viewing, but we hope so. A number of years ago we went in October and just missed the height of the spectacle of colors.

Maybe this time will be better. We'll be staying in Gatlinburg for four nights and around the area for a another two nights or so, depending on whether we can find some truly unique places to stay.

This will be our third trip to the area this year and there could be another toward the end of the year if snow is in the forecast.

We just like the Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. We've been so much, it is like a second home, which means it is a very comfortable fit.

Next post: Aug. 20, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another summer -- its Elkmont once more

Another year, another Elkmont camping experience.

Going to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each summer has been a habit for more than 40 years. And a good habit at that.

The campground's the same, well, yes it has aged. But I fear the aging is more on my part. Hiking to Mt. LeConte was usually an  every other year challenge.

Laurel Falls was done each year -- it is only about a three-mile round-tripper whereas LeConte is an all-day experience.

But this year we didn't do either one.  Well, we haven't done LeConte for about 10 years or more. There is something about one's stamina and desire.  They're fading as the years add up.

But there are still traditions that hold strong -- the traditional picture at one of the park's entrances, the ice cream stop in Townsend and the chili supper at Cades Cove picnic area prior to taking the 11-mile one-way jaunt.

Cades Cove's 11-mile one-way trip offers beauty and - now - heavy traffic

And we manage to make it into Gatlinburg for breakfast once a week and now tradition has us going to Starbucks in Pigeon Force toward the end of our visit to get our fix of the Internet. Over the past five years there have been a number of suitable coffee shops sprout up in Gatlinburg only to apparently die off from lack of enough people wanting the experience.

We love the traditional and look forward to the new.

But there's nothing like the mild days and cool nights in the mountains that offer a temporary respite from Mississippi's stifling summer heat and humidity.

Next post: Aug. 13, 2013