Gatlinburg oh Gatlinburg, we were so surprised by your beauty! Only because we really didn't have any expectations going into this leg. Our trip started in Nashville. We drove to Wilmore, KY after our 3 night stay in TN to stay with our friends Meg and Sam. After those beautiful Kentucky days, we traveled back to Tennessee where we stayed in the Smoky Mountains.
We were shocked by how rain-forest-like the mountains were in TN. We loved the difference of the terrain from the mountains we're used to in New Mexico. In the two days we were there, it probably rained on us 5 times. No worries though, because being from NM, we LOVE this wet stuff that falls from the sky!
Our first day in, the four of us cooked in. Our adorable little A-frame cabin was perfect for us, so we enjoyed eating our on the patio and enjoying the scenery. As much as we didn't want to see bears....we really wanted to see a bear. Except we had regulations. We only wanted to see a bear if we were a) in our car b) looking outside our cabin window or c)...no really A&B were the only ways we would be okay seeing a bear.
Well, our first night there, our wish was granted....on our post dinner walk. We're strolling through the steep decline of the mountain when I shout, "BEAR! No seriously!!!". We all kind of pause and look forward. I immediately and naturally bring my camera to my eye. And then we relax and start cracking up for dayyyyyz. Oops. Somebody thought it was funny to have this on their gate.
So anyway, that was our only bear encounter. I think I experienced the feeling of actually seeing a bear for the first time though, so that's kind of exciting!
We woke up the next day to homemade Power Bowls, a stroll down downtown and a mountain coaster ride--awesome, by the way! We found a cute little coffee shop and made ourselves at home. Meg and Sam suggested we take a John Wayne shot once we were there. The barista had never heard of one, but we explained the three ingredients, and she rocked our world.
Vanilla syrup on the bottom, dash of half & half and a shot of expresso = mind blown.
We laughed and laughed as we all took the shots and remained just a little bit jittery afterward. We made it back to the cabin shortly afterward to say our good-byes (hate these things) to our friends as they headed back to Kentucky. Jordan and I spent the last day in Gatlinburg enjoying its rainy scenery on a hike.
We researched Chimney Top Trail to determine that it sounded the best. Our close to 3 hour hike was INCREDIBLE. A beautiful kind of hike that I've never been on. So much lush green, tall trees and incredible views. We made it to the top (or almost) to find it start raining on us. To summit this mountain, you have to scramble to the top. I just learned what scrambling was...yesterday. Anyway, we didn't feel comfortable doing this in the rain, for the rocks being too slippery. We made it half way up and turned around with a few other hikers, as well. I would be lying if I told you I was calm. I definitely said some prayers and totally trusted Jordan to guide my feet and hand placements on the way down.
A leeeeetle sad we didn't get a panorama from the summit, but I was a leeeeetle happier to be in warm, dry clothes once we got back to our cabin...and after the hour hike back down. Regardless, if any of you go to Gatlinburg, TN--hike this trail! So beautiful!
We woke up the next morning to travel from TN to Charlotte, NC where we loved the bungalows and had the best tour guides ever--our cousins Tanner and Lindsay. We had drinks and dinner with them and got an awesome tour of downtown and everywhere cool in Charlotte. Plus, to top if off, they're expecting a little boy at the end of June, so we got to catch Lindsay at prime cuteness with her baby bump!
This was the perfect last leg of our road trip. Our no-expectations, spontaneous little trek east was more fun that I wouldn't imagined. I'm excited to look back on these blog posts and relive the memories!
Hopefully, we maybe shared a place or two to add to your travel list! ;-)