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Tennessee is Beautiful
I absolutely love nature. I love to sit and look at, breath in the fresh air, it is so peaceful and relaxing. Tennessee Smokey mountains beauty is mesmerizing. I did not want to leave when it was time to go home.
We staying in a cabin in the mountains just outside of the National park of the Smokey Mountains, for 5 beautiful days. It was a treacherous road (not a well-maintained road)getting to the cabin, going up and up till we were at the last cabin. Surrounded by trees and the smell of fresh air. Oh, I loved it already.
Just driving through the Smokey Mountains was beauty in itself. The roads were so curvy and steep and so full of tourists that stopped constantly to see the amazing waterfalls so my average speed was about 5 mph. I was fine stopping behind a long line of cars as long as I had a great view of waterfalls, which there were many, and the water was so clear.
We stopped and walked 2 miles up a very steep path to see a very beautiful waterfall. along the path were signs posted warning visitors not to feed the bears. I stopped and wondered if we should continue.
There were several people going up and down the path so we continued along. There were 2 park rangers that walked up to the waterfall and back down all day long. I felt a little safer.
We met some people coming down that said there was a bear spotted along the trail. Oh great my car is all the way down the path, no safety anywhere. We continued up when we were with several other people. We meet more people coming down the path that told us the bear spotted had cubs. What is worse than meeting a bear on a trail? Meeting a bear with cubs on a trail.
We did see the bear which was off the path and in the woods but still visible. So, of course, I had to take a picture of my daughter with the bear in the background (not that close but close enough). The park rangers had shooed the bear off of the trail (I am very appreciative of them getting the bears off of the trail. We continued on to the top where the waterfall was.
The waterfall was gorgeous. There were people playing in a pool just below the waterfall. Standing near the waterfall I reached out and touched the water as it fell down the side of the mountain, it was so cold, I wasn’t expecting it to be that cold. It was a beautiful sight to see.
We drove into Gatlinburg to go to the aquarium that I had seen great reviews on. When you get to downtown you stop every few yards since the people crossing has the right of way. High tourist season is not the time to go. There were so many people sometimes you would wait a few minutes at one crosswalk just to stop again a few yards away.
We arrive at the aquarium finally. Inside we saw a very large aquarium that is filled with sharks, stingray, and many other sea fish. We saw little jellyfish in several small aquariums that were fixed into the wall.
The hallway leads to under the tank of sharks, stingray, and other fish. There is a tunnel (not sure what it’s made of) that is clear. where you can see all the sea creatures from underneath as you walk or stand on the conveyor belt. The sharks, stingrays, and other fish are swimming beside you and you can see them swim over you. It was cool.
In the aquarium was an area where penguins lived encased in all glass. If you crawl through a tunnel you can stand up in a glass area and look around and see the penguins up close. There were a few penguins running around, others were inside their cold house.
Around a corner, we came upon a pool of baby stingrays and baby sharks surround by an area to lean over and look. You were able to touch the baby stingrays but not the baby sharks. The stingrays were rubbery feeling. I like places that are hands-on as well as visually appealing.
Next, we were off to go horseback riding. Horses are on my list of favorite animal so of course, we had to go horseback riding. It was my daughter’s first time riding a horse and she loved it and wanted to go again. The trail led us through a grassy area, woods, down mud trail, and then into a clearing where we stopped and took pictures. It was great being on a horse again.
After horseback riding, it was time for zip lining, which I sat this one out. It was a first for my daughter zip lining, which she seemed to enjoy. I enjoyed watching her fly through the air on the zip line. She had the biggest smile on her face when she was finished.
Back to the cabin to rest and see what adventures were in store for the next day. We decided we were going to an area which is popular for bear sightings which were about an hour away with traffic.
The area was really convenient for tourist in that you can drive in a big loop around 10 miles (I am guessing) where there was known to be an abundance of wildlife. Deer, bear, bison, and many others. The idea is to drive in this large loop and observe all the animal in their natural habitat. There were only a couple fences that I saw and that was only near the road by the bison, the bison could come and go as they please just not into the road. All the animals could come and go as they please.
While in this loop (drive in and out the same spot) we see many deer, bison, and other birds and small animals. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see a bear lounging somewhere. There are specific times where the bear is not sleeping and able to be seen. Which are right after sunrise and just before sunset. The loop only has certain times during the day that you are able to drive through. It is a good idea to limit times so that the animals stay safe and are not bothered at night. After a good nights sleep it was off to the next adventure.
This adventure took us to the highest point in the Smokey mountains where it used to be a high point where a park ranger could look out and spot any fires or smoke. Sadly through time with all the pollution in the air and vehicle emission as well as factories, there is rarely a time where you can see anything. The day we were there we were in a cloud. Literally inside of a cloud. My daughter’s very curly hair, which had been straightened, was not straight anymore. The humidity from the cloud was making straight pieces of hair go curly.
Just driving around, looking at nature, was very enjoyable to me. I appreciate nature and love to see when it is protected so that generations to come can also see and appreciate it.
The cabin we stayed in had a wrap around porch with a swing and rocking chairs. Sitting outside day or night was very relaxing except the later it got the more mosquitoes you had to fight off and they were pretty big.
It was an amazing trip. The sights were breathtaking and as I had known at the beginning of the trip. I did not want to leave yet. There was so much more to see and do. Maybe next time not in high season.
We will definitely be returning.