We recently had the amazing opportunity to take a day trip to the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN. It is only a few hours from where we live and we heard word, from my friend Suzette, of a Beautiful hike up there. It does take a full tank of gas to get there, so we don't get to go very often, but we have been able to go twice in the past year and we make sure to savor every moment.
We figured we would go for the hike and stay for he lights. (Gatlinburg really does up the lights for Christmas, the whole town does.) It was definitely worth the trip. And it was a nice to get away from the dreaded "2 week wait."
We started our morning on the mountain in 30 degree weather. Weather so chilly we could see our breath. But it wasn't a stinging cold, so once we bundled up, we didn't have an issue. It was actually quite cozy. I think we may begin Winter hiking. :) We had warned S it was a rigorous hike and made her promise not to complain if she wanted to go with us. She promised, but I didn't see her holding to it...However, to my surprise, she did! She is a strong. She made it all the way up, only breaking about twice. (Which we required the breaks also!) While the hike itself is only 2 miles, you gain almost 1,000 feet of elevation over the last mile. Lots of stairs and rock climbing. There was one point where we all thought we were going to pass out from lack of oxygen. But we barreled through and made it there, all the way to the top. It was good family time. We talked about the nature and the hikes we want to take next Spring, and maybe even this Winter. We talked about Christmastime. And Samantha's (Hopefully) future sibling. At the point Samantha became too enthralled with the scenery to care what we were talking about, we discussed marriage and future goals. And then some petty, lighter things like Rugers and couches and what color to paint the bathrooms next year.
Once we reached the top, the Beauty that we experienced left all 3 of us speechless. Whereas it was damp and cold at the bottom, we were now above the clouds where it was sunny and warm. The clouds surrounded us from every direction. You could hear the snow melting off the trees, quickly. And faintly, in the distance, the water rushing below. It was nice. So we sat for awhile. Until we all got so hungry that we weren't sure we would make it back to the bottom, which by the way too half as much time to get down as it did to get up.
We were able to enjoy dinner at Calhoun's, doughnuts at Krispy Kreme-which by the way, I have the sweetest Husband ever. He surprised me with doughnuts because he knows how much that KK means to me. Every time we talk about Gatlinburg, I can remember when my parent would take my brother and I to see lights at Christmastime and we would stop to buy doughnuts. The tiny shack of a building hasn't changed a bit. Afterward, we drove around to see the lights and stopped at Pigeon Island to walk around and see all the festive decorations as well as stay for the musical water and lights show.
Such simple things we did, but by far my best memories of us as a family. I am a very Blessed woman to have a family of people like them. Even if it is small, they fill me with enough happiness to last the rest of my life.