After our trip to Washington, D.C. where we walked a total of 25 miles through heat, humidity, and pouring rain. I didn’t realize but should have, if I was paying attention which I almost never do, that within a week of our D.C. trip; we had planned a vacation with our son and his family to the Great Smoky Mountains. Not only that, we were going hiking::in the mountains::STEEP mountains.
Since our son, Eric, and daughter-in-love, Kylene, had been there before, they planned the whole trip for us. We thought of renting a cabin, when Eric remembered that one of his long time customers at his UPS store, a dear lady named Nancy, owned a condo in Gatlinburg and had told him he could use it any time. He called her, it was available, she sent us pictures, and we rented it for a very generously discounted price. It was decided that Eric and Kylene would drive for the trip and, just like that, we were all set.
The ten hour drive gave us time to talk and laugh and eat and talk about eating. Kylene and one of their boys are gluten free. Knowing I had had some issues with my gut recently Eric asked, “Mom what can you eat?”
“I can’t have refined flour or sugar, but I can have ketchup.”
In my defense, I was still tired from Washington and I guess my brain was not fully communicating with my mouth, but still.
“Oh good, Mom. We can go anywhere as long as they have ketchup.” To say they laughed at me would be an understatement, but it was funny. We ate at a chicken place. Though my son made sure it was available for me, I did not have ketchup.
After our drive, we were all looking forward to relaxing in the condo. The pictures we saw were beautiful and the kids were looking forward to the pool. You can imagine our surprise when we pulled into the condo and saw this…
My first thought, was that the pictures did it way more justice than what we were seeing. My second thought, nay, prayer was…’Please God, don’t let this be it’. While Eric was looking for the lock box that had the keys, we sat in the car quiet, perplexed, and may I say, more than a little bit scared. When Eric finally asked someone about the lockbox, he discovered that we were in the wrong place. We went one driveway too far. Our condo looked like this…
Sweet relief, and yes, that is my husband giving a very happy thumbs up.
The next day we went hiking. I enjoy hiking and I may have told my son that, we could do any hike he and Kylene could do. I may have said that and that would have been a lie. Fortunately, we were limited by their two boys. I will be forever grateful for those little boys and their limitations.
We hiked to waterfalls and went behind them. We hiked through woods and more woods. We hiked to old cabins once lived in and we found out what cantilever barns are, bigger on the top than the bottom. We even got to hone some of our outdoor survival skills. Fortunately, Kylene came prepared with her Travel Toilet Tissue.
Who knew there was such a thing? The fun part was how excited Ky was to finally be able to use it.
Ky and I put it to very good use it. Hiking makes a body thirsty. Being thirsty makes you drink. And drinking all that water makes you have to tinkle, badly. I will be forever grateful for my years of Scouting, though I admit I am still a little jealous of the guys in this area.
After some fairly easy hiking days. We were to take one day and go to Clingmans Dome. “It will be easy,” Eric said. “We drive most of the way, Mom. After we park the car, it’s a short half-mile paved hike to the Dome.” That’s what he said.
Clingmans Dome is the highest mountain in the Smokies. Once you do the half-mile, you have to climb the Dome. Eric may have said this too, but I wasn’t really listening. We had done fine hiking, even though Cliff and I were still fighting colds that we brought home from Washington as souvenirs. But, it was only a half-mile. How bad could it be?
Here’s something I learned…Breathing and walking uphill is a very important skill. It’s pretty much a “thing”. Our half-mile hike was not very long, and it was paved, but it was like climbing the stairway to heaven, straight up. Cliff and I stopped to breathe once or twice. When my son asked me how I was doing, I told him, “My butt cheeks are on fire.” He assured me that I would have a great butt after this, not sure if he meant great in size, which I already have, or great in looks which at almost 60, I don’t really care about.
When we finally made it to the top, all of the difficulties faded as we caught sight of the glory that was before us. The evidence of God’s handiwork surrounded us and made it all worthwhile.
It really is a very big deal…