Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break Camping

Last week we drove 9 hours to Gatlinburg, TN to go camping with friends for Spring Break. This is the third year we have spent Spring Break with the Pryzsuchas, camping in various locations. This year the kids were ages 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 years old. We love staying at the Great Smoky Jellystone Campground. The owners are great and helpful and the facilities are nice and there is a creek that runs through the campground. It is located on the edge (literally out the front door of the cabin) of the National Park so we can hike from there if we choose.

Waterfall along the hour long drive to Cade's Cove

One day we visited Cade's Cove, an old settlement in a farming valley in the park. There are several old log buildings still standing. It was quite cold that day but we saw herds of deer and numerous old buildings, a working original mill and other cool things.

At the waterfall, taking a break from our hike

On the last day it was quite warm and we hiked 4.5 miles round trip to see a 90 foot waterfall. It was a "moderate difficulty" hike but with 5 kids it was even more interesting..."my legs are tired", "I'm thirsty", "carry me", "how much farther". The kids sure were getting tired of the four adults whining like that! :)

The weather was nice most days. For about half a day we had some rain so we decided to make that a "town" day and went to breakfast at one of the 7,000 pancake houses, then visited the aquarium. After that the boys went to Ripley's celebrity car museum and the girls went to Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. We got exotic beef jerky and some fudgy ice cream.

Of course, right before our driving trip across the southeastern US the gas prices skyrocketed... the prices in Gatlinburg were CRAZY!

Every night we had a campfire and enjoyed s'mores. We experimented with coconut marshmallows and the super jumbo sized marshmallows. The kids played flashlight tag in the nearly empty campground and stayed up WAAAYYY past bedtime every night. One night we drove in to Pigeon Forge and went to dinner at the Dixie Stampede. This is a dinner show where you cheer for the North or the South and there are horses and trick riders and audience participation contests, etc. You eat with your hands and everyone gets the same thing, a whole chicken, pork steak, corn on the cob, soup, biscuit. Basically it is like the redneck version of Medieval Times.

S'mores are GOOOOOOD!

The whole gang at the Hen Wallow Falls

We are back home now. I have done about 10 loads of laundry but haven't folded any of it! Camping is messy business...and everything is smoky. The kids have another whole week of Spring Break but we are just hanging around the house. The weather is wonderful right now but it is supposed to cool off considerably and begin raining later this week.

1 comment:

tarab said...

1. guessing husband#1 thinks that hat is totally cool.
2. nice sign at the gas station. - diesel here is $4 now and reg is $3.70 -- $.21 hike overnight.
3. good pictures of you - nice you get to be in a few.
4. and the bday success story is that is was not one of your children needing the stitches!