Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Great Smoky Mountains

We got up early this morning and drove into Gatlinburg for a meal at our favorite breakfast place, the Pancake Pantry.  It’s always delicious and nostalgic…we have taken pictures by the fountain outside the restaurant every year since we got married 13 years ago. 

103It’s funny how we always order the same thing.  Nan gets the raspberry crepes, Todd gets the french toast with cinnamon creme, I get the Caribbean pancakes (this time with whole wheat pancakes and sugar-free syrup), and Grace gets a “bear” pancake.  This morning, however, Grace simply picked off the M&M eyes, nose, and belly buttons.  Then she ate her daddy’s side of bacon.  The breakfast of champions, my friends.

102 Next we drove about 20 miles up the mountain to Clingman’s Dome.  This is the beauty of God’s creation at it’s finest!  I took this picture out the window during our drive.  (Sorry about the weird date stamping…I fixed it!)

107Clingman’s Dome is the second highest point in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River.  (The first is Mt. Mitchell in N. Carolina).  We didn’t even think about the difference in temperature when we got to the top.  It was in the 50’s with a stiff cold breeze!  We had to hike another mile to and from the observation tower and the only thing we had was Grace’s pink blanket to keep her warm.  Todd and I just dealt. 


The higher we went, the colder it got.  Grace actually walked about 80% of the way by herself on a steep incline.  Todd carried her some to give her breaks.  When we got towards the top, we started walking into the clouds.  Grace thought that was so cool!  But, unfortunately, since it was a cloudy morning, this is all we could see when we got to the very top.

007Bummer.  On a clear day, you can see over 100 miles into 7 states!  We took a few pictures anyway.

009It warmed up a little on our hike back down to the car, thankfully.  I think it was actually physically harder going down than coming up!   At one point Grace exclaimed, “Hiking a mountain is HARD, Mama!”  Yes, it is.  Especially when your body temperature is approaching hypothermia.  And the altitude is so high that it’s harder to breathe.  And you’re still recovering from the car sickness that is inevitable when riding in the backseat on a drive through the Smoky Mountains.  We stopped to take a few breaks.


We drove down the mountain a few miles and stopped at Newfound Gap to see the beautiful mountain pass and stand on the Tennessee/North Carolina state line.115

017111On our way home, we stopped at the Tanger Outlet to run in a couple of stores.  I found two cute pairs of pants for $6.00 at Coldwater Creek and several $2.99 items for Grace’s summer 2010 wardrobe at The Children’s Place.  While Nan and I were shopping, Todd took Grace to ride a Go Kart (which she was determined to do by herself!).  Todd let her try, but she got frustrated because she became stuck and kept driving into a wall and banging her head on the steering wheel.  Hopefully this doesn’t bode poorly for her future in driver’s ed…

Grace was pretty fussy on the ride home.  The bacon and M&M’s had worn off and she was exhausted from the hike!  We’re just going to relax for the rest of today, then tomorrow we’re headed to Knoxville to celebrate Nan’s birthday!


Mimi said...

I'm so glad ya'll are having a great time. Tell Gracie that Mimi is proud of her for being such a big girl this week! And tell Anne, "Happy Birthday."

Kim H. said...

Amazing - I wish I were back in that part of the country right now... I was there about this time last year and LOVED IT!