We were able to get away to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee for a few days with the kids on their spring break. We decided to balance things out with a bit of touristy stuff and some nature, so we started at an indoor water park outside of Gatlinburg, Wilderness at the Smokies. We actually all had a great time there, and it was very new, clean, and well-designed- I liked the wave pool the best!
Driving through Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg is a mind-numbing experience in terms of the shear amount of tacky tourist attractions all gathered together. I honestly was afraid my camera would break, and didn't record that experience. We did spend one rainy afternoon walking around in town. I'm happy to report that aside from a funnel cake, some saltwater taffy, and a round of mini golf, the only other money spent in that place was at the Arrowcraft Shop. It is one of the few shops not selling a bunch of gross junk from China, and I was proud of the kids for not buying any "stuff" with their hard-earned allowances!
We headed to the trails in Smokey Mountain National Park the next day, and many memories were running through my mind of backpacking trips I'd taken with my brother and his family, stories of trips with Jason, and a weekend years ago with Paul. On that trip, a few years into our marriage, I thought I was possibly pregnant and I blissfully pondered all weekend about having a baby. When we got home, I learned that once again I was not and I was devastated. This entire trip with our kids I REALLY reveled in the blessing of our wonderful children who came to us in unanticipated ways. I am so very grateful to have them in my life!
Although the trail was fairly crowded, I have to say it was gratifying to see so many families with kids out in the woods instead of in town buying and eating a bunch of junk! Our kids seemed to enjoy it as much as we did, though Robert chose to run much of the trail and wait for us at the finish!
Mirian was drawn to the water, and loved gazing into the pools watching for trout.
We didn't make it out of Tennessee without stopping for fireworks for Robert! Oh well, I guess that made it a perfect trip for all.
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