Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gatlinburg 2014

We just arrived home from a wonderful Spring Break week in Gatlinburg.  We, along with 5 other families, rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge.  We had a really great week, full of eating and napping and shopping and playing games and laughing and hiking.  We all stayed up so late at night just enjoying being together in one place, and did whatever we enjoyed with our families the next day.

Team Davis' sleeping spot:

The kids loved the big bottom floor:

 and the top floor hot tub!

There were even fun little places to explore within walking distance of our cabin:

 The first full day was cloudy and cold, so we decided to do something touristy. 
We picked MagiQuest - the kids used magic wands to go on adventures and quests, we all went through a mirror maze, and we played black light putt-putt.

Preparing for the Quests:

 Adventure time!

 Mirror maze:

Black light putt putt

Oh this picture of my girl!  I just happened to have my camera focused on her when she putted her ball into the last hole and it disappeared.  I don't think she was ready for the game to be over!

We enjoyed some downtime at the cabin that afternoon.  
I loved the big table where the kids could all eat together.

My favorite part of the afternoon was napping with these two:

 The second day, we hiked Laurel Falls with another family.
It's a paved trail leading to a pretty waterfall, about 2.3 miles round trip - 
perfect for the kids.
The day was beautiful!  We had a quick picnic lunch before we started:

and we were off!

 The kids' favorite part of the hike up was climbing on the big rock structures along the way.

 This sign made us laugh:

and then we really did have the talk with them about being careful so they didn't fall off the edge of the mountain.

 We were so happy to arrive at the falls!  It is really beautiful, and a treat for kids who haven't seen a waterfall before.

 There was a pathway that led from the top of the falls to the bottom,
and you can bet that my girl was going to do it!

We were so proud of Tucker climbing down it, too!
He is not by nature as adventurous as Lana, 
and tends to be cautious in most every way.
He was so very brave and tried so many new things,
without showing a bit of hesitation.

 Lana was completely, 100% in her element!  
That girl loves adventure like none other.

 Dan & I have always wanted outdoor things to be our family's "thing."
We so enjoyed hiking and adventuring together,
and we are already talking and making plans for how this can be a regular thing we do together.

Even the hike out included climbing on the rocks.

 Dan couldn't help but take this picture of another hiker:

 After being out all day in the beautiful weather with no naps and lots of fresh air, bedtime was welcomed:

and this is Tucker at nearly 10 a.m. the next day!!
We all played hard and slept hard.

The next day we thought we might do something else touristy,
but after our day of hiking, we just wanted to do it again.
We made a stop by the visitor's center, and decided to try another of our favorite hikes, Chimney Tops.  It's rated "strenuous," and nearly 5 miles round trip, but we decided that it was ok if we didn't make it the entire way.  We would just hike until the kids let us know that they were done, and enjoy the trip.

I could never have imagined how much we would all enjoy it!  
The kids loved the challenge as much as we did.

 We didn't take the big camera - just snapped some cell phone pictures along the way.

It only took one bridge for Lana to realize that we didn't have to use the bridge to cross the rivers.  Then her main goal was to cross using the rocks every single time.  There were a few times I wasn't sure if it was do-able for Tucker, but she & her daddy planned a route, and Tucker did it!
I wish I had more pictures of us crossing, but really my goal was to keep my son out of the whitewater.

We even managed to make a little time for the touristy downtown part of Gatlinburg before coming home: candy shop, sky lift, ribs at Calhoun's

We had an absolutely wonderful week and came home with fat souls.
Thankful for so much.

1 comment:

  1. Hi friend! The Finn family has been trying to incorporate more outdoorsy activities into our lives as well, so I just wanted to give you props for taking on a new adventure! We have discovered a lovely state park about thirty minutes away that has several hiking trails, and we love playing there on the weekends. I look forward to hiking and exploring more as our kids' ability grows. Praying the Davis family finds all kinds of ways to enjoy the wonderful world God has given us!