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Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

St. Louis
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Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Dad and 7 y/o daughter made a return visit to the Smokies a few weeks ago -late May. Only part of the trip was in the Natl Park, but being the bulk of the trip, that is where we'll put this report.

Stayed overnight iin Cookeville Tn (about 3 hours east of park) - made a visit to the Burgess Falls and was duly impressed. Took in drive-in movie at Sparta TN.

Arrived in Elkmont campground for 4 nights. used a the walk-in site hard by the roaring Little River. Next time we'll try to get a drive in site - its nice to have the extra space and privacy of the walk-in - but we'd be fine not lugging stuff back and forth from car.

Still, just a lovely spot to be - the white noise from the river makes for great sleeping.

Unfortunately the closest restroom was under remodel while we were there, so we had to trek or drive about a quarter mile when nature called. The construction activity in the area was pretty noticeable, but I figure it was mainly that they were rushing to complete the work by memorial day weekend. The river did buffer much of the noise from the trucks, so it wasn't too bad. And We didn't hang out at the campground during the day

Really enjoyed Dollywood Splash Country. Had great weather and lines weren't too long. Having been to other water parks, such as Holiday World - I did find Splash country was on the pricier side without any discounts.

Gatlinburg - took the little one in for some tourism fixes. She's pretty laid back, but it draws out whatever ADD she has in her, and raises my stress level constantly diggin in the wallet. I was able to use the town as a reward for her going on hikes etc. I guess I'm glad Gatlinburg is there, if anything to keep traffic down in the park.

Had a great hike up to the top of Chimney Tops. My knees turned to jelly as the little one scampered up without hesitation. An iconic hike. People up top got a kick out of seeing her make it up there.

Also took in the Porters Creek and Greenbrier area of the park. Quite scenic. Highly recommend.

After 4 days in the park, we packed up and headed to the North Carolina Mountains. Stopped in Cherokee for some quick sluicing for gems. Also stopped by Dillsboro Chocolate Factory. Good stuff, nice people that run the store - gave us good recommendations for the NC side. Nice B&B type town.

Thus we were off to Standing Indian Campground in the Nantahala National Forest. A gorgeous drive up the Winding Staircase. Campground was all that it was touted. A bear woke me up sniffing out our campsite - that is a crazy feeling being in a tent. Kind of spooky but awesome in retrospect.

Drove the gravel forest service roads and made short hike Laural Falls and Pickens Nose. Incredible. The forest is thick as could be with trees and rhodedendron bushes. Definitely bear country.

We'll be back - probably spending more time exploring the NC side of the park - barely scratched the surface over there.

Edited: 3:30 pm, June 04, 2010
Cleveland, Ohio
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1. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Thanks for sharing Striek! Sounds like you and your daughter had a great time!!! I would have pee'd my pants had I woken up to a bear outside my tent!!!! LOL! 28 more sleeps and we'll be on our way!

St. Louis
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2. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

The campground had handwritten signs on restrooms warning about food and trash w/ bears recently prowling. We adhered to the rules -basically leaving nothing outside or in the tent.

The bear incident didn't scare me at the moment, but it does in retrospect. It was hard to believe it was happening, almost as on cue.

The bear was sniffing us through the tent. I lay still, my daughter stayed asleep and it moved o. I sensed it wouldn't be back since it didn't find anything it liked. Nevertheless, the rest of the night my subconscious generated nightmares.

florida
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3. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your daughter. Glad to see you are introducing her to the great outdoors. We need more parents doing that.

Please don't tell too many people about the area around Standing Indian Campground lol. I want it to stay wild and beautiful as it is. I have spent many a day driving the forest service roads in that area enjoying the beauty.

right over your...
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4. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Wonderful report on a wonderful trip!

Boston...
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5. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Sounds like an awesome trip. I planned a trip to Standing Indian last summer but it fell through. I'm hoping to get out there for several trips this summer.

Glen Carbon IL
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6. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

You'll love the NC side, so many waterfalls to see. Dry Falls in Highlands was gorgeous. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

Savannah, Georgia
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7. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Well atleast your daughter wasn't awake because she might've screamed which would have alerted the bear. If an bear is alerted it feals threatened so it could've done much more than it did.

Cullowhee, North...
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8. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

Striek,

Great to meet you and your daughter. I am glad you had a great time. I wish I had time to join you guys with my kids. Maybe next time we can plan it better and I take you guys out on Lake Fontana for an afternoon of exploring the park by boat. See you next time.

9. Re: Trip Report -great time in the Smokies

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