Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our trip to Tennessee :)

It's time to start getting caught up on what we've done this year!  This summer was over practically before it even started!!

We were able to sneak away for a few days on a family vacation!  We decided to do something we've never done and do a vacation with just our family...since this would probably be our last summer all together!

Edd and I realized that all our vacations in the past have been visiting family, which of course has always been a blast!!  :)  We felt like it was time to do something with just our kids before they start leaving us.

So we packed up and drove to the SMOKY MOUNTAINS!!  :)  What a beautiful place...turn after turn, we were totally amazed by the beauty!! 

The night before we left, we were out running errands.  When we arrived back home, we found these on our back porch!!  My sweet visiting teachers had put these together for us!!   

When we got to Tennessee, we drove through the areas where some of Edd's ancestors had lived!!  Both of his mother's parents grew up in Tennessee!  It was really neat to see some of the areas they used to call home!

Once we were checked into our cabin, we settled in for the night and admired the had just been raining and we could see little puffs of "smoke" all around!  

Our first adventure in the Smoky Mountains was to hike the trail to Laurel Falls!  It was so beautiful!!  :)

I took this on the trail on our way back down!  Everything was so green and around every turn was another beautiful view!!  :)

After our hike, we drove through Cade's Cove where there were quite a few neat old churches and houses to see!  But the most exciting thing to see was this...

A BABY BEAR!!!  He had been left behind by his mother.  An off duty ranger told us that the mother has 2 other cubs and had probably left this cub in his "playpen" while the mom helped the other cubs!  The ranger said the bears were checking the cherries to see if they were ripe yet!

This is one of the cabins we drove past.  Most of them were built around 1910, which was around the time Grandma Goodwin, Edd's grandma was born!  It was amazing to see how people used to live when Grandma Goodwin was just a little girl!!  

Sunrise on our second day!  :)  Our teenagers didn't want to get up with the sun!!

Back to the park we went for another day of adventures!!  

We drove up to the trailhead for the Clingman's Dome.  We went on a ranger lead hike, which took us along the Appalachian Trail!  It was really beautiful scenery and at times we were walking through the clouds!!  At one point of the trail we were on the top of the ridge where one side was Tennessee and the other side was North Carolina!!  Part of the time we were hiking on the N. Carolina side.  The kids thought that was pretty cool!!  :)

On the Dome!  

After our hike, we spent some time playing in on of the many rivers!  Edd had gone out on a big rock to take some pictures and accidentally lost his balance!!  Luckily only his one foot got wet!!  :)

We finished the day with a horseback ride!  Edd took the kids who wanted to go...and they ended up seeing another BEAR!!!  

Our last day started in Gatlinburg! We went to the ski resort, Ober Gatlinburg, and rode the alpine slide! Then we headed back into the Smoky Mountains for more adventures!!  :)  

This is where we stopped to have our picnic lunch!  :)

Another old house that we stopped to explore!  It was by a river that we went down an played in!  We ended up running into another family from Louisiana there and talked to them for a little while!  

On our way out of the park, we stopped and got a picture by the sign!  

We all had a great time!!  We were all sad to leave Tennessee!!

On our way home, we stopped at an old cemetary where some of Edd's ancestors were buried.  It was really neat to spend some time in Tennessee and learn to love the land where they had lived!!  :)
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Melissa said...

It is SO great that you guys got to take a vacation as a family. I just can't believe that Bethany is done and ready to go to college...

Zogg said...

Awesome pics , made me want to go.

Gardner Family said...

Looks Beautiful there. So glad you all had such a wonderful trip.