"The beauty and charm of the wilderness are his for the asking, for the edges of the wilderness lie close beside the beaten roads of the present travel."
Considering how this vacation came about and the chaos created as we learned the specific details of the plans, Rob and I were very uncertain about how it might turn out. All of my in-laws (with big, yet highly sensitive personalities) staying in one house for a whole week for the first time had the potential to be explosive. We were very apprehensive as headed toward East Tennessee last Sunday.
As we look back at the week from the other side, Rob and I can both admit that we would consider it a successful trip, although we would not exactly call it a relaxing vacation. We were able to squeeze in many wonderful moments with each other and with Rob's family, and that certainly helps balance out a couple of stressful situations or the fact that I had very little patience all week for disruptive, disrespectful children and negative, whiny conversations.
Highlights of the trip include:
- Getting out on the trail with Rob ... we tackled two long hikes: 8 miles to Ramsey Cascades (plus a shorter hike to Grotto Falls) on Monday and 14 miles to LeConte Lodge via the Rainbow Falls Trail and Rocky Spur on Thursday
- Watching the kids swim and paddle around the river that lay right out the back door
- Eating some really yummy food: delicious wood-fired pizza at Big Daddy's Pizzeria, amazing pancakes at Crockett's Breakfast Camp, lunch at No Way Jose's Mexican Restaurant, and apple fritters at the Lumberjack Feud, in addition to grilling out for dinners back at the cabin
- Hiking with Rob's mom and his sister's family to Laurel Falls ... they're not big hikers, but they made it all the way!
- Hanging out and getting to know Rob's cousins and their families ... at the Aquarium of the Smokies, walking around downtown Gatlinburg, and just hanging out at the house
- Watching the family enjoy the Lumberjack Feud ... the older nephew originally said that he didn't want to go, but ended up having a great time ... the younger nephew started using his silverware as a chainsaw ... Rob's grandpa even had a good time, too
- Meeting up with Rob's mom as she enjoyed browsing the Arts and Crafts Loop
- Playing putt putt with Rob's cousins in the air conditioning
More photos posted on Flickr... click here