Friday, April 20, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 5

Thursday, April 19th - Knoxville, TN to Asheville, NC

We both woke at around 7:45 a.m. after a hard sleep. Vacation is work, don't you know! While I was prepping for the day, The Husband so kindly fetched a plate of breakfast for me from the buffet. I ate in the room, while we both were on-line.

With the odometer reading 35,885, we left the hotel at 10:10 a.m. and headed toward Asheville, NC.

We made a quick stop at Memory Lane Antique Mall in Sevierville, TN. Oh my.

If you are a serious collector of specific patterns of crystal, china, pottery, etc., this is the place for you.  It is stuffed to the rafters with wonderful items. For example, this is a table of linens in one booth:

And this is a cabinet full of thimbles. Just thimbles.

If you are ever in the area and are a collector, this mall is well worth a stop. It's a bit pricey, but for a true collector what's a little money?

We drove The Great Smoky Mountains Parkway, through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Think Branson on steriods x 3. Overwhelming! Nerve wracking! Busy! We could only imagine what it would be like in the height of the summer season. CRAH ZY!

Funny thing, we stopped at the last traffic light in Gatlinburg and when we crossed the intersection we were immediately in the calm, cool Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A world away from the commercial, tourist scene.

We stopped at the visitor's center, stamped our NPS Passport, chatted with a park employee who gave us a short hike recommendation and departed with a trusty map.

We were told the hike to Laurel Canyon Waterfalls was 1.3 miles, paved and flat. Okay. We can do that.

People who live in Tennessee have a very different definition of flat than people who live in Oklahoma. Does this look flat to you? It's not. It's an insidious slope upwards.

At this point, I told The Husband to go on without me. He said "No, you can do it." I did, but it took us a while.

Can we say "out of shape?" At least no one passed us on the way up the trail!

About 2/10ths of a mile from the falls, the grade changed to downhill. At this point, I called "Bullsh*t!"

Bullsh*t re-enactment

I can't walk uphill to the falls and then downhill to the falls and then be expected to walk uphill again to go downhill, can I?

I did. And, I made it.

We stayed for a while and took photos. Of course, we stayed for a while! I wasn't leaving until I was good and ready!

Here I am after leaving the falls and hiking the 2/10ths of a mile uphill to get to the downhill slope for the rest of the trail. Thumbs up!

On my way down the trail, I met a girl struggling up the trail. I told her I had been her just the hour before and to not give up, she could do it! That's me, motivational speeches at the drop of the hat.

We got to the bottom of the trail, finally. Hike accomplished. Whoo Hoo!

We continued the long and winding drive through the park. We saw a couple of wild turkeys. We saw a lot of beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, we also saw a lot of dying trees.

We stopped here at one point in the drive.

This lookout is one of the places where you can enter The Appalachian Trail. We discussed hiking all the way to Maine, but considering my recent bellyaching about the 1.3 mile hike to the Laurel Canyon Falls, we opted not to at this time.

We did meet "Captain" who started on the trail March 9th in Georgia. He's hoping to hike all the way to Maine. He has until October 5th to make the journey, when the trail is closed for the season.

Good-bye "Captain." Good luck and happy hiking!

We drove on and eventually entered the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway.

The mountains are beautiful. We would love to return and rent a cabin here for an extended time. Perhaps we can do that in the future.

We eventually made it to Asheville, NC and checked into our Best Western at 5:30 p.m. No, we are not in room 201 this time. That would have been too freaky!

We drove through downtown and it was busy, busy, busy, with no easy parking. We ended up having dinner at Chili's, not far from our hotel.

End of day odometer reading = 36,022.


  1. Wow, that was all exciting. I don't know if I could have hiked that thing but it would certainly be better than DRIVING! I've been to Ashville, beautiful place but I found out there were more mountains than I was comfortable with. You guys have having a great time.

  2. Can you imagine what it takes to hike that trail? My nephew hiked most of it - from Georgia to NH. He and the friends he made hiking on the trail to a break when they were passing through CT and spent the night at my sister's. P-U! They don't get to bathe for very long stretches! Even their backpacks were so stinky they had to stay out on the porch with the door closed!

    1. And that is one of the many reasons I will never hike the AT!