GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, NORTH CAROLINA & TENNESSEE

We spent three glorious nights in the Great Smoky Mountains, and had such a blast exploring the park.  This one had been on my bucket list for some time, and I was thrilled to be able to experience it firsthand. After driving from Georgia, we arrived in Cherokee, North Carolina to spend our first night right outside the park.  That evening, we experienced the most torrential thunderstorm I think we may have ever seen.  Justin was determined to still build a campfire, which he did under our outdoor awning, and we all had a blast watching the storm.  I was determined to do a load of laundry (our swim stuff was close to mildew), and had to run back and forth to the laundry with everything in a trash bag.  Priceless.  After sleeping well, we woke and drove into the park really early to get a jump on crowds and parking.  We started our day at Clingman's Dome, and did a hike to Andrew's Bald.  It was around 6 miles or so, and had some really good elevation changes.  Everything was wet from the storm, and we had some visibility issues once we reached the bald due to fog, but it was still a gorgeous view and a really fun hike.  After our hike, we dove the road through the park, and checked out multiple overlooks (GORGEOUS), and even the Tennessee/North Carolina State Line.  After an hour and a half driving though the park, we decided to stop and play in the river (it's definitely recommended as something fun to do there), and we found the perfect swimming hole.  We did some rock jumping, rock skipping, swimming, and lounging, before driving to our campground in Cade's Cove (in the park) for dinner.  On our drive, we also saw a bunch of elk and three bears!  We had a great campfire and BBQ that night. The next morning, we woke up and headed to drive the Cade's Cove scenic loop.  From the end of the loop, we hiked to Abram's Falls, which was so much fun.  At the falls, we had fun cliff jumping, swimming in the swimming hole, and Hayden even found "nature's slip n slide" on our hike back.  Such a fun day together, and we did the rest of the scenic drive on our way back to our campground.  After dinner, and some s'mores, we hit the sack.  The next morning, we headed to Nashville from the Smokies.  We'll never forget our time there.

Attempting laundry in a major thunderstorm.
Hike to Andrew's Bald















Gorgeous drive through the park...






Our heavenly little spot along the river...
























Back at our campground at Cade's Cove


Ghost stories...
Games before bed.
Cade's Cove Scenic Drive


Hike to Abram's Falls












Junior Ranger Books...
Swearing in...
S'mores by the fire.





Credits for a movie that the kids are filming while on the road.  PRICELESS.













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