Friday, October 21, 2011

Gatlinburg 2011 Trip Report: Sun. Oct 16

Sunday morning, we got up early, got ready, had breakfast at the hotel, and then headed into the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  We stopped at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center to go to the bathroom and then hike the Nature Trail located behind the park.  I had read about the Fighting Creek Nature Trail online and decided to give it a try.  Since Shawn and I are both trying to lose weight (although all the sweet treats we had this week didn’t help), I thought being as active as we could on this vacation would be great.  I had Googled a few different trails/hikes for us to do and we enjoyed each one.  The trail was relatively easy and was only a 1.25 miles round trip.  About ½ way through the trail, there was a log cabin.  The whole time we were on the trail, I was on the lookout for bear, but didn’t see any.  I love, love, love looking for bear when we are in the Smokies.  We didn’t see any bear, but did come across about 6 wild turkeys when we first started the trail, and then ran across 2 more as we were finishing up the trail.  We also saw quite a few squirrel and chipmunks.  

After we left the visitor center, we headed out to drive the Roaring Fork Motor Trail and hike to Grotto Falls.  RFMT is a 6-mile long, one-way, loop road through the Smokies that offers rushing mountain streams, glimpses of old-growth forest, and a number of well-preserved log cabins, grist mills, and other historic buildings.  The hike to Grotto Falls was about 3 miles round trip and there was a 25 foot waterfall that you can walk behind.  This trail was a bit more difficult than the one earlier in the day, and it was definitely a workout.  I felt like we were never going to make it to the top, but we did.  The waterfall was beautiful and the hike down the hill was even more beautiful.  Hee!!  When we first started the trail, we saw some people coming out of the trail using some wood walking sticks.  I mentioned to Shawn that we need to get us some sticks and they offered us theirs.  I was so thankful that they did.  They helped get up and down the trail a lot! 

We didn’t eat any lunch that day, but did munch on some snacks when we got back to the car.  After we finished the RFMT drive, we headed back to the hotel to change and drove into Knoxville for dinner.   When we were in Florida last fall we ate at a Brazilian restaurant called Texas de Brazil and it was delish!  As we were driving through Knoxville on the way to Gatlinburg, I saw a billboard for a Brazilian restaurant called Brazeiros so we called to find out about it and knew we wanted to eat there.  Brazeiros was just as yummy and I would highly recommend it to anyone!  It was late when we were finished with dinner, and since we didn’t know the area, we didn’t do anything else and headed back to the hotel.  We did stop at another ice cream place called Mad Dogs Creamery.  It was absolutely delish as well.  We went back again later in the week.

These pictures were taken along the nature trail at the visitors center.

These pictures were taken at a pull-off along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.  I had the tri-pod in the car for the one of us together, but it was a pain to set up each time so there isn't many using it.

The rest of the pictures were taken along the hike to Grotto Falls.

I wished I would of had someone take a picture of Shawn and I together at the waterfall, but I didn't :(

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