Smoky Mountains

I recently had the opportunity to take a trip so, we packed up and headed to the Smoky Mountains. Here are some of the things we ended up doing on this trip.

Cades Cove Driving Loop

Near the Smoky Mountain, National Park Campground, you will find an amazing wildlife viewing area that we love to pass through – Cades Cove Driving Loop. It’s an 11-mile, driving path that loops around the cove and offers many spectacular views.

Valley of Rich History

The Cherokee Indians hunted Cades Cove for hundreds of years but no evidence was found of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. Cades Cove offers a wide variety of historic buildings and historic information about the people that lived there.

  • 3-Churches
  • A working grist mill
  • Barns
  • Log houses
  • other restored nineteenth century structures

Wildlife Viewing

Over the years, we have been blessed with many wild life sightings while driving through Cades Cove:

  • White-tailed deer (Huge bucks, fawns, does, button bucks)
  • Black bears (Grown adults, cubs of many sizes)
  • Turkey
  • Coyotes
  • Hawks
  • Red Wolves-Which are not in the park anymore.

Many years ago the park released Red wolves into Cades Cove in efforts to restore wild wolf populations in suitable areas. Unfortunately, their efforts failed and the remaining wolves were captured and moved. Many were recaptured after straying from the park onto private land, 6 were killed – either hit by cars or killed by humans. Out of 33 pups born in the wild, only 4 survived. The wolves couldn’t find enough food to eat in this mountainous area. Many wolves left, presumably in search of prey, and some of those that remained succumbed to disease, parasites, and starvation. During one of our early trips to the park, we were blessed with a sighting of a Red Wolf and came across him later carrying a turkey in his mouth. I treasure that memory.

Wildlife viewing tips

Biking

Experience the cove on a bike. The loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic until 10:00 am every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove. You can rent a bike at the campground store. It is strongly recommended to wear helmets and required of any children 16 and under. Visit the Campground Store Website.

Hiking

Hiking was high on my priority list. Since we visit Cades Cove several times during these visits, we chose to hike a trail in the Cades Cove loop – Abrams Falls, which offers up a scenic hike and a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail.

  • 5.2 miles round trip
  • moderate difficulty rating
  • parking lot

Hiking is one of my favorite, fitness activities. I find that the Smoky Mountains features cooler weather which means I don’t have to fight off mosquitoes, and the view is breathtaking. I find it risky with large drop-offs and slippery paths so, be sure to take precautions. You don’t want to end up in the E.R. as a result. Cold and rain can come up quickly, so do the research; what is the weather going to be like, what clothes to wear, what shoes to wear, what should you bring, etc.? Once, during my hike, a storm rolled in, causing the temperature to drop and I found the path extremely slick. I didn’t want to fall as a result, so I slowed my pace and kept a close eye on the path.

Pigeon Forge Titanic Attraction

There is something about the Titanic story that has always captured my attention so, we stopped in to see the museum and was quite pleased with it. The owner of the museum is none other than John Joslyn, who led a dive expedition to the Titanic site 2 years after it was discovered. As a result of his dives, 2 museums have opened up in Branson and Pigeon Forge, which exhibits some of the largest, permanent collections of the Titanic artifacts, and memorabilia. Guests enter a unique world that showcases exact replicas of the beautiful, handcrafted Grand Staircase.

Passenger Story

Each guest receives a card with a story of a passenger that was aboard the Titanic. At the end of the tour, their fate is revealed. My passenger survived the accident and her story turned out to be surprisingly interesting.

One tip I would like to offer: At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to take a picture. The Grand Staircase was superimposed in the background and the picture is beautiful and professional looking. I wish I knew how well that photo would have come out, s0 I would have dressed nicer. As a result, I was unhappy with my picture, but that was my own fault. Other than that, this attraction deserves 5 stars!

There are so many things to do in the Smoky Mountain region. If ever traveling that way, make sure you visit websites and do some research. There are many places you can stay. Cades Cove is a major attraction for my family. So, when we visit the Smoky Mountains, we like to stay in Townsend. It’s the easiest access to Cades Cove and take Wears Valley Road when we venture into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Catherine Bares

Follow me on my Facebook page. New page and new link below.

Check out Power Systems for all the newest fitness tools

Tubes and Bands are effective, affordable and Fun!
Facebooklinkedinyoutubeinstagramby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Hiking Boots Blow Out

New Boots
#Columbia

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

Recently, my husband and I took a trip to one of my favorite spots, The Smoky Mountains. Hiking is one of my favorite activities to do while visiting this region. We picked a trail within the Cades Cove Loop; Abrams Falls. It’s a moderate level hike that is 2.5 miles in and 5 miles round trip. It leads us to a beautiful water fall and is well worth the hike.

During the hike in, I started to notice a drag in my walk; I thought I picked up a vine or a stick on the trail. It turns out that the soul of my boot was peeling off from the front of the shoe. Every time I took a step the soul would be pulled under and it was causing me to trip. Luckily my camera backpack had some bungee cords attached to it. So, my husband jumped into action and made a temporary repair so I could make it to our destination.

During the hike out of the trail, my other boot started to lose the soul from the back of the shoe. Total blow out on both boots. I ended up having to pull that soul completely off. It was our first hike on this trip and we planned to make at least 2 hikes. What should I do? Well, in Pigeon Forge, there is a huge Outlet mall so, we went shopping. There was a Columbia Outlet Store that had my size and was priced right.

New Boot Risks

Now, experience tells me not to go hiking in a brand new pair of boots before breaking them in, but determination took over. The next morning I bandaged up all the blister prone areas and pulled my new boots on. Although I liked the fit better than my old pair, and they were more comfortable, the risk of blisters was ever present in my mind. We decided to hike the same trail since it was fairly short, and we knew the terrain.

It is a pleasure to announce that my proactive efforts paid off-No blisters! The Columbia boots were comfortable and supportive. I give them a 5 star rating.

Stay tuned for more posts about this trip with pictures.

Catherine Bares

Facebooklinkedinyoutubeinstagramby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

My Cajun Roots run Deep

My Cajun background

I travel quite a bit and it’s inevitable that someone will ask me where I am from. When I say “Louisiana”, it never fails, people always say “but you don’t have an accent”. While it is true that certain areas of Louisiana come with a heavy Cajun accent, the last 2 generations of my immediate family have lived in the Metro New Orleans area, which softened the accent.

However, our family Cajun Roots run deep. My great grandparents (and yes, I do remember them) did not speak English. My Grandparents learned English, but continued speaking the Cajun language with their parents and their children (my generation’s parents). My dad spoke both Cajun and English, but the buck stopped there. After my Grandparents passed on, the language died off in our family. We do have family that still live in the Bayou areas. Cajun is still their primary language but, we, the city family rarely see them. Over the years the language died off and the accent softened up a lot.

Growing up Cajun

I like to think I had the best of both worlds; country girl and city girl. My grandparents had a farm when I was a child, which resulted in spending many weekends and summers on the farm. My father loved the water and always owned a boat. We spent a great deal of time in the water as well:

  • trawling for shrimp
  • fishing for salt water fish (our favorites were Red fish and Trout)

Trawling Trips

Trawling was hard work but I enjoyed everything about it. The first drag was the boring part. Trawling in a small vessel goes at a slow pace and not much to do but anticipate what we were going to yield from the 1st drag; it always set the pace for the rest of the day. If our 1st drag came up with a full net, the excitement would build as we jumped into action. After we pulled the net up we emptied it into the pick box, prepped the net and drag boards and dropped it back into the water. After the 1st catch came in, it created timely work picking the shrimp out, tossing them into the ice chests. Sometimes we would get lucky and catch some soft shelled crabs in the net, which always contributed to the celebration. That meant we would have fried, soft shelled crabs as a result.

When we pulled the boat out of the water, we were calling home from a payphone at the dock, so my mom would know what to expect. If we were coming home with ice chests full of shrimp, she would make some phone calls to everyone on standby to come help us pop heads and package the shrimp for the freezer. It became a big party. There would be music playing, and an outdoor burner and pot to boil some of the catch from the day. We would sit there for hours popping heads, eating and talking about our tales from our day on the water. Time well spent as a family.

Fishing Trips

My favorite activity on the water was the fishing trips. There is something so exciting about seeing that cork go under the water line, pulling that pole up and setting the hook. When you set that hook on a good catch you can feel it. The Adrenalin starts pumping and the fight to real it in ensues. I can recall the excitement and the team work that would happen. My dad was a great coach.

Get the net! Oh, it’s a big one! Coming along the side to keep from losing him. He is running!

Me

Let some drag out so he doesn’t pop the line. Don’t let him get around the back of the boat and wrap the line around the motor. You will lose him. Keep the line tight. Get him closer so I can get the net under him.

My Dad

Growing up Cajun was fun, energetic and a great deal of hard work. Not to mention the sunburns we would suffer with after being on a boat all day. Back in those days you needed a prescription to purchase sunscreen. Things have changed a great deal since I was a child. Some for the good.

There are many charter boat fishing captains in our area if you ever want to experience the excitement of catching a big Red fish or Trout. I have included a personal friend’s link, Fry’n Pan Fishing, for your convenience but you can also search google in the specific areas you want to try.

Remember: follow my Facebook page, share my posts, leave comments

Facebooklinkedinyoutubeinstagramby feather
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather