Day 5 August 5, Wednesday
Today was our full day in Dollywood. We parked at Patriot Park and rode the trolley. The park wasn’t crowded…they were giving Thunderstorms for the am and scattered thunderstorms for the pm and it didn’t even sprinkle! We rode all the big rides with our 8 and 12 year old grandsons several times, but the youngest is too small for them so had to spend some time doing things he could do too. We saw She-kon-e-hey and Country Crossroads. We ate at Aunt Granny’s. They were having a special where kids eat free. We stayed til the park closed. We came home and everyone pretty well crashed after spending a little time in the hot tub.
Day 6, August 6, Thursday
Today was a hiking day. Paul & I got up early and headed for Clingman’s Dome for a hike on the AT. It was 54 degrees but the wind was really whipping so it felt very cold. We had packed rain ponchos so I put mine on to block the wind.
The trail is 8.4 miles from CD parking lot to NewFound Gap. We had hoped to do it in 4 hours but took us an extra 35 minutes. The first 3 ½ miles were pretty sloppy, rocky, & rooty. The downhill also began to wear on my knee and I limped a bit, slowing us down.
DS & his family were waiting for us at the Gap. We climbed in their van & headed for Cherokee to “hike” up to Mingo Falls. There were lots of people there, in the water, and climbing on the falls, so a scenic photo was pretty much impossible.
Coming back we stopped & did another mile on one of the longer quiet walkways. It was steep and our son ended up falling flat but it made a good laugh.
Then we dropped the family off at Indian Gap to make the 1.7 mile hike to Newfound Gap while we took their car up to get ours at Clingmans. We came upon a woman giving a ranger a report of an “aggressive, scary bear” she had just seen in the area.
The family made another stop at Chimney Tops but only did a round trip of 4 miles, not all the way to the top. Coming back the 8 & 12 year old got out of sight & then couldn’t hear us because they were close to the stream. Our son was worried because of the bear sighting, among other things, and took off after them at a run. He caught his foot on a root and went tumbling down the trail. Everyone thought he was hurt but he just got scrapped & tore a gash in his knee…it really should have had a few stitches, but you know guys.
All in all we got in quite a few miles of hiking, which is one of our favorite things to do!
Came home & grilled chicken & veggies for supper, made cornflake cookies, and spent time in the hot tub with the boys.