This holiday season one of my biggest hopes was to spend more time creating memories and traditions with my family than disconnecting and going in opposite directions. I would like to think we succeeded.
Last Wednesday (hard to believe it was just a week ago!) the Ranger called and asked if I might want to go to the Smoky Mountains for New Years.
I have spent New Years Eve in a bar (once), in Vancouver, B.C. (once, shout out to Brandon and Kaaren!) and pulling a Dick Clark All-Nighter (more often than I care to admit). I am paranoid about the possibility of getting hit by a drunk driver. I’m crazy, I know this.
So, much to my husband’s suprise I said, “SURE!”
So last Friday night found the Accidental family creeping down the highway between Knoxville, TN and Pigeon Forge (you know, Dollywood Land!). I was stunned. I don’t know what I expected, but the bumper to bumper traffic that took over and hour to go a mere 10 miles through an electrician’s worst nightmare was NOT it! There were lights EVERYWHERE! There were cars EVERYWHERE! There were amusements and tourist traps EVERYWHERE! There were hotels and people EVERYWHERE! It was CRAZY!
We finally found our hotel (slightly off the main highway to my great joy!) and settled in for the night. Pigeon Forge was not our final destination for this trip.
In the morning we got up and set off for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, leaving behind the portable DVD players, DS’s, and the cell phones (okay, so it was in my purse, but I wasn’t using it!).
On our way we drove through Gatlinburg (CUTEST TOWN EVER!) making note of places we thought we might stop on our way back through after our sojourn through the wilderness and continued on into the park. Gatlingburg was not our destination this trip.
We thought we would hike to a waterfall, but there were too many cars and not enough parking spaces so we kept driving.
The scenery was STUNNING!
We, and about a million other families, drove the loop around Cades Cove where there were deer and elk aplenty. At one point there was a park ranger who was there to be sure cars kept moving and no one would attempt to get close to the family of deer sitting by the side of the road.
We stopped at the old Cable Mill and walked around for a bit. It was beautiful!
The drive through the park was lazy, with kids looking out windows and arguing over whose river it was depending on which side of the car it was flowing by. For those beautiful couple of hours we enjoyed the forest, the environment, discussed the need for the park to have buses to cut down on traffic and emissions, and realized that we should have brought snacks.
It was a memory. It will be a tradition.