Thursday, March 23, 2006

Wind Rider Lodge

I've been pretty busy this week with my jobs and have been trying to find a good time to blog about my trip to the Smokies last weekend. So tonight, I finally have some time and I started thinking about what I was going to write. As I started thinking (and writing) about the details of the trip, it dawned on me that some of my most regular readers were on the trip with me. So I re-evaluated the amount of details that I would go into. I've decided to hit the highlights and leave out some of the less important details. So without further ado...

Roxi flew into to Nashville on Thursday afternoon, and due to a flight cancellation on their trip, so did Joel and Katie from New York. Together, we left Nashville bound for Townsend, TN and the Wind Rider Lodge. Mike and Jennifer from Austin, TX had arrived at the cabin earlier in the day and were joined by Tim, Lidia and their daughter Ana from College Station, TX a few hours later. Due to the flight problems, Joel and Katie were without luggage for the night and possibly through the next day, so we made an impromptu stop at an Old Navy in Knoxville so that they could get a few things for the first day at the cabin. After a trip to the grocery store for breakfast and dinner supplies for the next couple of days, we were back on the road for the short trip to Townsend.

Townsend is pretty small and the Wind Rider Lodge was very secluded. It was pretty disorienting navigating the dark mountain roads at night, but we made it in time for a late dinner. The cabin was great. It was all wood and had an amazing view of the Smokies.

On our first day in the mountains, we made a long, slow drive through the Cades Cove loop and saw the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

On the second day we planned a hike through a different part of the park, but in order to get there, we had to drive through the mountain towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Note to readers: NEVER go to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. They are both horrible eyesores. Pigeon Forge is a town of go-cart tracks and putt-putt golf courses. Gatlinburg was a traffic jam. After sitting in the traffic for about fifteen minutes and only moving a few yards, we decided to ditch that plan and head for a different hiking trail. We decided to hike to Laurel Falls.

We finished our day stopping at The Sinks and Miegs Falls before heading back to the cabin.

Sadly, that was all the time we had in the Smokies, but we will return. It is just too beautiful and there is still lots of park to be explored. Plus we have a lot more hot tubbing to do in those mountains!

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