Monday, June 16, 2014

Smokies in May

In May we wrote no posts because we were too busy traveling! With Tabitha's family visiting, we embarked on a three week epic traveling event.  We started by renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. 

Cabin in the Smokies

We rented a 4 bedroom cabin in Wears Valley, one of our favorite places.   The unincorporated, pastoral valley is located just outside the National Park.  It's a pretty, peaceful location that's away from the traffic and chaos of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.  Lyon Springs Road, in the middle of the valley, cuts south across the ridge and into the park, connecting up with Little River Road.  Or, you can go to either the east or west end of the valley and head south to enter the park.

Well-appointed kitchen.  Picture taken before we started cooking!

The cabin we stayed in, like all rental cabins, had a name.  Ours was "Dawsey's Dream," and we rented it from Cove Mountain Realty.  We've rented from Cove Mountain for years, and have never had a bad experience. 

Southeast view from the two-level, wrap around porch.

Their cabins are solid, well-furnished, and affordable, and if you look for it, they often have pretty good specials. Their office is right smack in the middle of Wears Valley, so if you're staying in Wears, it's very convenient to the cabin.

Southwest view.

Now, not every cabin has a view (you can specifically request one, or use the search on their website). Dawsey's Dream is situated high up on the northern side of the valley and commands a spectacular south-facing view of the Smoky Mountains. It was definitely one of the prettiest perspectives we've had here.

Looking straight south.  I could get used to this view.
With the exception of one rainy morning, we were blessed with great weather.  With such a great-looking base of operations, and with seeing family for the first time in a long time, it really was easy to linger and hard to leave the cabin and get out into the park. But we did.

View out the front windows.  Dining table on the left.

Driving around the park

I love driving down Little River Road, and enjoy taking friends and family to see it. Here are just a few pictures from that trip.

Little River.

Canadian geese: they really don't give a *@%#.

At one funny moment in the drive, we were stopped Little River Road, and a pickup truck narrowly avoided hitting a pair of Canadian geese that were landing on the road in front of him, whether he liked it or not.  These geese were amazing, in that they let us walk right up to them and take pictures.  I've since learned that these geese are notorious for their poor manners and indifference to people. 

View from Maloney Point, I believe.

Laurel Falls

We wanted an easy morning hike, so after the rain that wet the land one morning stopped, we headed out for a trip to Laurel Falls.

Laurel Falls Trail.

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular trails in the area.  The trailhead is very well marked, on Little River Road, with a good deal of parking.

View from the trail.

It's less than 2 miles to the falls, on a mostly paved trail with a steady, gentle incline.  When I was walking on the paved trail, I couldn't help but think of how much work it must have been to pave, probably by hand.

Laurel Falls
The falls themselves are probably as wide as they are tall.  There had been recent rain, so I assume the flow was up a little bit. 

It really is quite a drop.  But there is a sign in case you missed that.

Worth the walk.

After the Smoky Mountains, we headed east to North Carolina, then hopped a plane down south to do the tourist thing in Orlando.  More on that to come!

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