After Stephen fulfilled his condo board responsibilities we decided to celebrate by heading east and experiencing the colors in the most visited national park in the nation; The Great Smoky Mountains… located in both Tennessee and North Carolina.
Our Vistabule was still in for repairs so instead we arranged for a house-sit in Asheville, North Carolina through TrustedHousesitters.com and filled in the gaps with Airbnb’s along the way. On our drive east we made two quick stops in Kentucky at Lincoln’s boyhood home and Mammoth Caves National Park but the main attraction was the Smoky Mountains. WOW! We arrived during peak color season and the leaves provided a rainbow of yellows, reds and golds. As we drove through the park every turn was more beautiful than the next.
The park is enormous so we selected some well known hiking trails and started walking as beauty surrounded us.
The Smoky Mountains are also home to one of the most famous long distance hiking trails in the world; The Appalachian Trail, also known as the AT. This 2,200 mile trail stretches from Maine to Georgia and every year hundreds of people attempt to hike the entirety.
Fifty years ago when Stephen was a young lad he hiked 100 miles of the AT with his Boy Scout troop at the northern tip in Pennsylvania. Last week we had the opportunity to hike a portion of the trail that meanders through North Carolina.
It was a fantastic day for both of us and fulfilled a bucket list item for Stephen. We had fleeting thoughts of returning next year to hike a larger chunk of the Appalachian Trail but after visiting one of the trail huts we decided a day hike would suffice.
We encountered lots of traffic on this trip as everyone was out to enjoy the colors but this gave us more time to enjoy the view. Such beauty!