On our last full day, we drove to the Smokey Mountain National Park to find a "kid-friendly" trail to hike.
We were excited because the park ranger at the Information Center boasted of the beautiful waterfalls we'd see at Laural Falls. Plus, he said, it was semi-paved, so "good for kids and strollers".
But then, as I started to walk back to the car, he said,
"Oh, but watch out for the bears. Their have been multiple bear sightings daily on that trail. So, if you see a bear..."
Then he proceeded to scare the snot out of me by telling me what to do and what not to do if we came across a bear...I couldn't keep it all straight...my mind was racing.
Thankfully, he handed me a neon flyer with all the "rules". Then he added...
"Our bears are pretty friendly...but you just never know."
I went back to the vans to report what I heard and see if we wanted to pick a different trail. To my suprise, everyone was excited. Yes, they were thrilled at the idea of seeing a bear! Even my sister Sarah!
"Seriously? Am I the only one that doesn't want to meet a black bear?"
I was the only one.
So we headed out...
On our way to the trail...
(Trusten scouting out the route)
Once we got to the trail and found another unpleasant surprise...THIS SIGN:
What have we gotten ourselves into here?
Then, to add to all this, as we started up the mountain, we ran into a few groups that said they had seen a bear! Um, I think we picked the WRONG trail, but we kept going!
It really was a beautiful trail. But the drop-off was UNREAL. Needless-to-say, we obeyed the multiple signs along the trail and kept our kids tightly to our sides!
and stopped for a few photo opp's too!
Finally, we reached the top! It was a LOOOOONG hike...I don't know if I agree with the park ranger that it was very "kid-friendly"...
But we did it! We made it to the top!
(These pictures don't do justice to the
frightening drop-off just a foot from the marked trail)
The waterfalls were BEAUTIFUL!
The kids were so hot...we all were...
(Trusten said, "I know it's not modest, but can I take my shirt off?" So cute!)
A perfect place for a family picture!
The boys loved it!
I promise I feed him! lol!
Ryan with "his girls"
Getting ready to head back down the mountain...
My preggy sister was such a trooper!
(Sarah with 4 of her 6 kids)
Done at last!
And we didn't see a bear!
(I was the only one NOT disappointed about that!)
Let's head into town for lunch!
For lunch we went to Gatlinburg.
Brahm (our musician) was SO excited to see these gold guitar door handles!
It was 2 o'clock and we were all VERY hungry!
We decided to walk around a bit after lunch
(It was 3pm, 100*, we were all exhuasted...no one knows why we did this! But it was fun!!!)
The boys love to push their baby sister!
Trying to escape the heat...
(poor Liberty had to wear a boys hat to keep the sun out of her face!)
What a day!
Brahm wasn't in the house more than 30 minutes before he crashed!
First vacation blog post: The Beginning of Our Vacation...Part 1
Second vacation blog post: Life at the Cabin: 14 people Living Together For a Week (Part 2)
Third vacation blog post: The Conference (Part 3)
Fourth vacation blog post:Out and About in the City ~Happy Birthday Hudson! (Part 4)
Next: The Creation Museum
And finally: The Saddest Day--Heading Home (and another hotel adventure!)