Trying my very best to get into the right spirit for the fast approaching Winter Break, I booked 3 nights at Bear Pause cabin in Gatlinburg, TN. I was actually snow bound for a solid week when the idea came to me. I pictured the kids sledding and tubing down the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Might as well make the best of it, right! I took inventory of our snow clothes and even made an on-line Lands End purchase to fill in the missing items.
The day finally arrived to leave for our Mountain Getaway. The only problem was it was 70 degrees! The kids were in shorts and sweating as we were packing the car to leave. Nevertheless, Bear Pause Cabin here we come! We got started a little later than we planned, but weren't in a huge hurry, so everything was fine. Then we hit Pigeon Forge which we must drive through to get to Gatlinburg. The traffic was one long line of vehicles all going the same way. Never having been to this part of the country, we didn't know if the traffic was always this bad, but I decided right then that I would not be returning. Since we were traveling (and I use this term loosely) at a snail's pace, it allowed me to completely take in the town's flavor. I've got to hand it to them, I have never seen such compacted tackiness in one 10 mile stretch of road. As if trying to dodge a spitting man in the monster truck next to us wasn't entertaining enough, my eyes beheld elevated rotating pigs at the mini golf, a replica of the Titanic, The Sweetheart Wedding Chapel, bungy jumping platforms and Hogs n Honey's Saloon and Grill, Home of the Hillbilly Hammer!
We finally arrived at our destination the way we always arrive, hungry and in need of provisions. The cabin was listed as within walking distance to town which would have been convenient. As we ascended the windy, mountain road, it was becoming clear that unless one regularly climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for sport, one would not be hoofing it to town. We decided to drive back down and drive around to look for food. Thankfully, we found a Papa John's and were saved. Unfortunately, finding the cabin in the pitch darkness proved to be more difficult. We drove up and down the mountain before finding our way back to the cabin. Our son suggested that we stop and ask the man who he thought probably lived there for a long time, where our cabin was. One of our daughters asked if she was dead yet as we were driving blindly along the dark road!
We set out the next day ready to explore all that Gatlinburg had to offer, sledding notwithstanding. My goal was to avoid the hundreds of Mountain fudge and candy shoppes and tatoo and t-shirt stores if possible. Thankfully the town is in the Smoky Mountain National Park and they have my favorite thing to do in the the whole wide world, hiking! With any luck we would see a wild animal or two. The weather was perfect for hiking, but the only animal we saw was the one we brought with us, Roxy our dog unless you count the dead flat bear you see in the picture. My children aren't the quietest around so that might have had something to do with it.
The kids collected bbs left behind by the Indians, climbed every tree that they saw, skipped rocks in the river, and played Trouble and pool with their very patient dad. But the best part about our stay at the cabin has to be the hot tub. There's nothing like a hot tub to make a Mountain getaway fun. All in all, I would have to count our Mountain trip a success.