Camping Compendium Day 1

As we left for our mini-vacay last week, I was pretty tense, very distracted, awfully anxious. I knew we would be completely off-grid for a few days–no cell, no TV, not even radio–and frankly, that added to my stress, even though it was the whole point of going. We drove down through Bowling Green and over backroads in Tennessee, picking up I40 around Cookeville.  Our GPS advised us that the traffic down through Gatlinburg was stopped and pointed us toward our Cherokee, NC destination via Maggie Valley.  Maggie is lovely, but the road out has hairpin curves….it was a long last hour.  We got into Smokemont around 5 and had just enough time to set up camp before dark.  I had packed fried chicken, so after we filled our bellies we sat around the campfire and stared, listening to the quiet and not-thinking, beginning to unwind.

We were up early the next day for a hike.  A short walk from our campsite, the Smokemont Loop is only 3/4 mile, but it climbs, so it’s labeled moderate.  Hiking along, stopping to look and listen, the only wildlife we saw was a gray squirrel, but the birds were chirping over our heads, so I know they were there.  I Really am not into bears, but Casey was on the lookout the entire trip…

Smokemont Loop Trail

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The hike felt like a gentle massage…I could feel the tension leaving my shoulders and I hadn’t once thought about anything but the beauty of my surroundings.  We grabbed a sandwich back at camp, then set off to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and take some Overlook pictures.  That’s for tomorrow.

See you real soon!

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