We got to have a nice relaxed Monday mornin’, with no need to get on the road and make mileage. After a nice breakfast, Susan and Jenni packed some lunches and we headed into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It was a bit of a drive, and getting down the hill that we’re on is as much of a challenge for the car as getting up it was. When we got to the bottom, we could smell the brakes, in spite of being in second gear the whole way down. Just like when we got to the top, you could smell the engine had been working hard.
We drove up to the Clingman’s Dome trail, and ate our picnic lunch, then proceeded up the half mile paved trail to the top.
And at the top, there was an observation tower made of concrete, with no stairs. A ramp was the only access to the tower, so the entire hike was handicap accessible, and on the way down, we did see someone in an electric wheelchair going up.
It was a good hike. Not long, but fairly steep, and still manageable by all the kids. When we got to the top, we (would have) had a great view of the surrounding mountains
(if we hadn’t been in the middle of a cloud).
One of us needed a little help coming down
but that’s OK. After the hike, we drove back down to the Visitors’ Center, and the kids attended a ranger program to begin work on their Junior Ranger badges. In addition to the program, they must do a lot of work in their workbooks to earn their badges.
Then on the way back home, we stopped at a pullout along the road to hike down to see Soco falls, which was very pretty. The kids wanted to play in the water of course, or hang out longer, but we had to get going to have time to do some grocery shopping for dinner.