Great Smokey Mountain National Park

Adventures, JournalKait Mauro1 Comment

Edward and I went to Cosby TN on Friday night and stayed in a little vintage camper we'd rented for the night on AirBNB for $70. It was fun and there had been a cold snap before we arrived so there were NO MOSQUITOS - which I was incredibly grateful for because they really tend to like my smell/blood and because of my skin type the bites and scratches (I can't control myself from scratching the itches) take forever to heal and usually result in scars. Edward had a great time on Saturday morning cooking the two fresh eggs (from our hosts' hens) we'd been left on the propane stove and making some earl gray tea and coffee with the little french press that was in the camper (the coffee, not the tea). We did A LOT of driving on Saturday because we got a little lost leaving Camp GRITS where we'd stayed the night and ended up taking a forest service road (one lane, unpaved) all around the edge of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park we were trying to get to the entrance of. It took about 2 hours to get off the service road and there was no way to turn around and no where to get off - so the only way out was through. It was beautiful though, forest and cliffs on either side at any given time. I would have enjoyed it more if I were not in a hurry to find a gas station (of which there obviously were not any on the forest service road) to get something to drink.We eventually got into the park and it was more crowded this year than it was when we visited right around the same time last year because the weather was better (it was raining for most of our trip last year) but it was still really fun to be in the mountains. Originally we had planned on going to the Gulf coast for a night but we had trouble finding an affordable place to stay near the shore so we decided to go to the mountains instead.

As we drove up to the tallest point of the park that you can get to by car, we had serious deja vu from our trip last year. We talked about how much in our life/lives and our relationship had changed since then. We reminisced. It was lovely. After the park we had to drive through Gatlinburg because that's where the park exit leaves you and I HATED IT. I can't imagine why anyone would go to Gatlinburg for vacation. It was crowded, the traffic was terrible, every store had bigger, brighter, more neon, more obnoxious signs than the next and the town was just filled with the tackiest stores and "attractions." It was like Las Vegas but without the big money, just a town in TN that wanted to be Las Vegas in its own little way. It made me really anxious because I hate crowds and tacky, loud cities.

Luckily soon after Gatlinburg we found an Olive Garden and got some soup and salad for dinner there because we were STARVING by that point. The drive back to Birmingham was fine except for when there was about two hours left until home and Edward's energy just crashed. He'd done 5 hours of driving the day before and had pretty much been behind the wheel from 11am (ET) that morning until we got home around 9pm (CT).