Before I have a bunch of holiday stories to blog about, I better get our Gatlinburg stories up. Sorry it took so long, Steve stole the camera for work and I came back from the trip really sick -- but we'll get to that.
A couple weeks ago, Steve got off work early on Friday and we headed to Knoxville, TN. We spent 5 hours in the car, with a dinner stop at Chipotle (Steve's favorite place, which we don't have Jackson). While headed to our first of many hotels, we saw a cop car going crazy (driving SUPER fast). I thought it was pulling us over, especially since Steve pulled over, but the cop was zooming ahead of us to a car on FIRE! We drove by it and were in shock at the scene. We never found out what happened or if anyone was in the car.
The next day, we woke up early and headed into the Smokey Mountain National Park. We first did a driving tour. If you've never done a driving tour before, here is some helpful advice to not tick off others in there cars -- If you drive slow to take in the view, be kind and use the pull offs to allow faster cars to get around. If you can guess, we got stuck behind a car driving extremely slow. Steve and I got a kick out of the pile up of cars behind us. The people in the car behind us were livid. I think it just added to the whole experience.
After our little driving tour, we did a "beginner" hike to a waterfall. It was a pretty steep hike, but the pathway had been paved, which made it quite nice. I was freaking out for most of the hike. If you don't know me, I am not very adventurous because I'm terrified of heights and falling for that matter. While headed back down from the water fall, Steve rolled his ankle in a pothole. All I saw was Steve falling to the ground and I thought he was falling off the path (it was a steep edge with trees). We thought he had hurt his ankle and wouldn't be able to hike the rest of the trip, but he pulled through. Whew!
After our hike, we headed to our new hotel, or should I saw Lodge. We stayed at this wonderful little log cabin style lodge. It had a full kitchenette, fire place, and huge bathroom. We headed to dinner to Fuddruckers in Pigeon Forge. This was my first Fuddruckers and one of many for Steve. When we got back from dinner, we went on a little walk to an "open-air pavillion" on the lodge grounds. By the time we went on this walk, it was pitch black, no lights, and on a declining hill in the woods. I was again convinced we were going to be attacked by a bear and killed and no one would know what ever happened to us. But luckily, that did not happen and we can add a midnight hike onto our list of adventures.
The next day was much like the first. We got up and headed back into the Smokey's for another drive through the mountains followed by a hike. This hike took us to one of the tallest peaks in the Smokey Mountains. As we drove up towards it, the temperature dropped significantly and there was lots of snow on the ground. The actual hike was a chilly one, and very steep. I had to stop a couple times to catch my breath. I claim "high altitude" and asthma was the culprit; however, Steve thinks it is my lack of adventure. It doesn't matter what it was, I made it to the top!
We were going to do another hike, but Steve informed me it was going to be like a 4 mile hike. I was having none of it, so we headed on to our new hotel -- The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge.
The rest of our trip consisted of lounging at our Christmas themed hotel (complete with a Santa & Mrs. Claus every morning in the breakfast area). The breakfast at the Christmas place was quite nice. They served a hot breakfast (eggs, sausage, ham, biscuits, gravy, potatoes, & create your own omelette) as well as donuts, waffles, fruit, and yogurt. We also explored around Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg. We even had some adventures at an apple orchard. We had quite the fun trip! (Although, the ride back was pretty rough for me, I had a major headache, hurt all over, and returned home to a fever of 100.5 & an Upper Respiratory Infection. I guess I paid for all that fun travel).