Monday, August 18, 2008

What I did on my Summer Vacation

It has only been about a month since our not so little vay-cay, so I thought y'all might wanna hear about it now. If you don't too damn bad. This blog is for me too ya know. I am getting old. I will forget about this soon if I don't put it in writing.

The first leg of the trip involved a short stop in Delaware, Ohio so that we could attend a celebration for BH's grandparents who were celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary. 60 years is no joke people. I would post a few pictures, but I am hesitant to put pictures out here on the WWW without the person's permission. (Husband and children are excluded obviously.) Gaining permission is going to involve telling extended family about this blog, which I am not too keen on and it would also mean explaining the term blog to the elderly and I am even less excited about that.

We were only in Ohio for a couple of days, but much fun was had by children playing in the creek ,(which apparently my husband and his brother were never allowed to do as children, so great-grandchildren get away with more than grandchildren did much in the same way grandchildren get away with more than children. At least that is how things roll in our families.)
swimming at the hotel pool, taking walks across town and other activities.

We left for the next leg of the trip which was Tennessee. We spent four lovely days in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. My in-laws put us up in one of their fancy condo-time share thingys. I was so excited to be in a King size bed again. I found it very difficult to go from my oh so comfy king size tempurpedic bed, to full size uncomfortable hotel mattresses that have springs! Springs are bad now, and at one point a full size AIR MATTRESS...but more on that later. The condo was lovely...large bed, jacuzzi tub big enough for two, huge shower, full kitchen, washer and dryer in the unit, FOUR pools. We swam every day we were there.

The first day in Tennessee was spent in a leisurely manner, outlet mall shopping in the morning, where I found lovely Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Children's Place bargains for me and the girls. My MIL had a coupon for a lovely store called the Fudgery. If there is a coupon then you must buy. ridiculous. amounts. of. fudge. Like almost three pounds. Because that is what it said to buy on the coupon. And because you have a coupon that says buy three get one free, it means that you don't have to check the price of the fudge per half pound. Let's just say that when the total came up MIL and I both had to go to the Hanes Outlet to buy new underwear. Of course when I got home new pants were in order because I consumed ridiculous amounts of fudge. By God every last crumb of that gold laden fudge was going to be eaten. The rest of our day was spent swimming and reading. Lovely lovely day.

Day two we headed to Smoky Mountain National Park. BH did a great job finding interesting spots o see. The first day did a 1.5 mile hike to Laurel Falls. I adore waterfalls. This one was gorgeous. It was amazing how it felt about 20 degrees cooler right by the fall. Honestly I would have been perfectly content to have set up a lawn chair and spent the rest of my day listening to that water, and occassionally dipping my feet in it. After the hike we found a great little picnic spot right next to a creek that was perfect for wading in. The girls loved it and I had to join in on some of the fun too. The rest of the day was spent on an auto-tour that was quite nice too. Some lovely turn offs, and we spotted some wildlife along the way!

Day three we went back to the National Park and hiked to the top of Old Smoky. Everyone was really disappointed that it was not covered with cheese. This is supposedly the highest point in the park. The hike to the top of the mountain was only .5 miles, but it was pretty much a straight-up vertical hike, at about an elevation of 6500 feet. It wasn't too bad really. Maybe I am in better shape than I think. Once at the top of the mountain, if you choose you can walk an additional distance to the observation deck that takes you above the treeline. I sucked it up and did it but only stayed a few minutes because I thought that people would not be very receptive to my screaming at them to step away from the rail before they fell to their death. (I don't do heights so well.) We went on to a lovely picnic lunch and a hike along a Quiet Walk trail. It was a beautiful hike along a creek. It was very woodsy and there was a lot to see. The coolest thing was this HUGE clutch of butterflies just sitting at the trailhead. I have never seen so many butterflies just sitting on the ground before. #1 the butterfly enthsiast was in sheer heaven! We then went on to do another hiking trail that apparently used to lead to an old ranger training station or something of that sort. It was a looong hike, and not as interesting as the others we had done. Me, MIL, and the girls decided to call it quits at the halfway point. We were tired, it was getting hot, and I myself was pretty much over hiking for the day. We drove down the road to a wading creek and spent a good hour and a half soaking our feet while the girls splashed around. I had a nice cat nap on a rock while the water ran over my feet. It was like a spa! BH and his dad finished the hike....they think.

The next day we left for Jackson, Missouri to visit BH's aunt and so the kids could play with their cousins. I didn't do jack shit except for take advantage of Missouri's tax free day and read. By now I was tired (because our bed here was a full size air mattress thus sleep was not quality. I promise you the first thing I did when we got home was lay down on my bed and tell it how much I loved and missed it,) and ready to go home. The kids were well occupied with their cousins, so little was required of me and BH much to our happiness.

That is the story. Now the pictures. I took a lot more, but blogger just takes too long to upload so here are some of my favorites from the Smokies.

This sign made me laugh and I also had a strong urge to stage a protest..

Laurel Falls.. so worth the hike

A snail near the falls

Splashing in the creek!

I would love to wake up to the view outside the window of this cabin every morning

A deer right outside my car window on the auto tour

A BEAR!! Don't you see it? It's right there see? There?
(actually there was a bear in there, but all we saw were ears and a paw)

Cute bunny on the trailhead on the way to the top of old smoky

The fam on top of Old Smoky. All covered in fog.

On the way up to the observation deck

The view from the deck. Photo courtesy of BH.

Clutch of Butterflies at the trailhead for the Quiet Walk

They even crawled up on your hand!

More creek splashing after a long day of hiking

Drying off a wet butt

Last view before we left the park

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