Tag Archives: smoky mountain

A quick story about a drive up a mountain

While in the Smoky Mountains, visiting the top of Clingman’s Dome (the highest peak this side of the Mississippi at 6600 feet) was at the top of our list. The weather wasn’t terribly cooperative the first few days with ice and snow keeping the roads closed. However on our last day in the park – and just two days before the road to the Dome closes for the season – the road was open by late morning. We headed up in the afternoon with thoughts of watching the sun set from the mountain top.

The drive up was amazing.

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And then about a half mile from the top a thick cloud rolled in. Visibility was less than .10 of a mile. This was our view from the top:

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They’re obviously impressed with the view.

From the bottom of the mountain to the top, the temp dropped nearly 20 degrees, the wind picked up and the cloud descended. It wasn’t the sunset view we had in mind but it was a pretty cool experience. When we got back down the mountain, the snow was gone and we actually ate dinner outside.

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Oh what a difference a few miles can make when you’re in the mountains.

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Another adventure achieved

It’s appropriate that I took my kids on a new adventure over Thanksgiving because I am so very, very thankful that I’ve been able to take them…

  • hiking in the Colorado mountains
  • scrambling around the cave dwellings of Mesa Verde
  • driving through the Painted Desert
  • exploring the Grand Canyon
  • viewing the vistas of the Pacific Ocean
  • experiencing L.A. traffic
  • enjoying the wonders of the Hoover Dam
  • sightseeing along the Vegas strip at night
  • climbing Bryce Canyon
  • scrambling the rocks at Arches National Park
  • wandering along the trails and dunes of Lake Michigan
  • walking across the Mackinac Bridge
  • biking around Mackinac Island
  • to the top of the Arch in St. Louis
  • learning in Chicago’s great museums and parks and zoos
  • splashing at the top and bottom of Niagara Falls
  • exploring countless battlefields from both the Revolutionary & Civil Wars including Yorktown & Gettysburg
  • back in time at Williamsburg
  • living in a beach house on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean
  • climbing the rocks of the Badlands
  • underground in amazing caves like Mammoth Cave & Cave of the Winds
  • viewing Mount Rushmore
  • exploring Devil’s Tower
  • hiking the trails and canyons and geyser paths of Yellowstone
  • tramping up and down the trails of Glacier National Park and driving along the one-of-a-kind Going to the Sun Road
  • rafting down the Snake River in the shadow of the Tetons
  • scrambling up to the top of a lava cone from a long ago volcano at Craters of the Moon National Park
  • whitewater rafting in West Virginia
  • canoeing, kayaking, hiking & exploring in countless parks
  • and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting…

And now I can add living on top of a mountain in the Smoky Mountains; exploring the valleys of Smoky Mountain National Park and its highest peaks.

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We’ve been on some amazing adventures and we’d probably like to revisit many of them again. However, the beautiful trails of Smoky Mountain National Park will always be towards the top of the list. I was worried about the logistics of our mountain Thanksgiving. It turned out to be awesome. Our families of 10 crowded around the table to eat our favorite holiday dishes. We played lots of games. Took a few adventures. And created memories we’ll have forever.

That’s a lot for which to be thankful.