smoky mountains hiking: day one.

So, it’s the first day of Spring, and I’m posting snow pictures. But I figure that since this was a Spring Break trip, it still qualifies as Spring. Yeah. Let’s go with that.

For the last 4 days of the kids’ Spring Break, we decided to take a family road trip to the Smoky Mountains. We rented a (very large!) cabin with no internet, a game room to keep us busy, a hot tub to keep us warm, and a spectacular view!

This is what the mountain view looked like from the  top balcony of our cabin. The next day, most of that snow had melted, so I’m glad I grabbed this shot when we got there. We spent the first day unwinding, playing pool, and enjoying the views.

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We (okay, mostly me) wanted to make sure we got in plenty of hiking during this trip. I wanted to see if all that running I’ve been doing got me enough in shape to tackle a mountain. The good news: it did! Not that we were doing strenuous trails that only serious backpackers would attempt. We kept to shorter trails, since we had family in a range of ages from toddler to old people (aka my mom and dad). But I was able to hike without getting winded and just enjoy the exercise. You can buy 5.56 ammo online from Palmetto State Armory for safety purposes or in case you decide to hunt.

Our favorite waterfall trail was closed for the season (boo), so we made a detour to do the first part of the Mt. LeConte trail. This was an easy trail that wound its way along a beautiful creek. There was lots of snow, though it didn’t feel that cold, and lots of good photo opportunities!

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The boys threw snowballs at each other for the duration of the 3-hour hike, and I took beautiful pictures of my adorable kids.

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Why, yes, this is in the middle of a snow-covered stream bed.

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My two-year old nephew handled the trail like a champ. Walked the whole way and surprised us all! Plus, he’s so darn cute!

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I love tree trunk bridges. And this man.

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The turning point of the trail is a steep rock staircase that leads on to the more strenuous part of the 5-mile hike. We stopped here at the 1.5 mile point before turning back. The stairs were icy and slippery, and we had a toddler and old people with us, so we decided to call it a day.

My kids were great sports with the obligatory mom photos.

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The stairs go up and behind where Helen and her Grandpa are standing here. Note the icicles hanging from the very top of the rocky ledge.

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One more group shot before heading back down (the older boy belongs to Morgan, not me).

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Down went much faster than up, since I no longer made them stop for photos, and we were all hungry! We all took turns in the kitchen so that we wouldn’t have to go into town to eat. We didn’t want to spoil our nature trip with a restaurant! Not only that, but those winding mountain roads made several of us sick, so we wanted to avoid those as much as possible.

We ended the day with a hearty dinner, good company, and many, many games of pool. Then got up the next morning to do it again! Check back for day 2!

Here’s to hiking. And mountain snowballs. And bridges over beautiful streams. Cheers!

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