Mountains and Moon Pies! Vacation 2016


The mountains were calling, and we couldn't wait to answer. Sunday just couldn't get here fast enough. But at the same time, we had way to much to do and we were running out of time...fast! Somehow, God brought it all together. Like only He can. Finally, we were off! Destination - the Great Smokey Mountains. That means camping, hiking and lots of mountains, creeks, rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife. And hopefully some cooler weather! These muggy, summer temps of 95°+ with "feels like" temps of 105°+ are just WAY to HOT! Even for this Florida girl!


When we arrived in Cherokee, the weather was much better than what we left behind. Soon as we got there, the girls asked, “can we ride our bikes?” Muscadine learned to ride without training wheels at this same campground a few years ago. Its much harder for her to ride her bike in the hot Florida summer. She feels the heat a lot more than most kids. The mountains are just cool enough that she enjoys being outside. Another plus, there aren't many gnats. Even though this time was warmer than usual, it didn't slow her up much. It was so nice to see her enjoying the outdoors again.


Every day was a new adventure! No telling how many mountain miles we walked or how many miles the girls put on their bikes at the campground. In case you're wondering, mountain miles are at least twice as long as Florida miles. And Mountain Time isn't just for out west. We were on mountain time all week, and boy was that nice! The only clock we really payed attention to was the sun. Only trouble was, it was about 9:30 pm before it got dark. That was hard to get used to since it gets dark by 8:30 pm at the house.



This time we went “jeepin'” a couple times with my in-laws and their friends. That was so awesome! Nothing like riding trails in a jeep with the windows and top down. Even crossing the mountains was incredible. Yea, it's fine in the truck, but there is just something about a jeep! I believe it was made for the mountains! y day was a new adventure! No telling how many mountain miles we walked or how many miles the girls put on their bikes at the campground. In case you're wondering, mountain miles are at least twice as long as Florida miles. And Mountain Time isn't just for out west. We were on mountain time all week, and boy was that nice! The only clock we really payed attention to was the sun. Only trouble was, it was about 9:30 pm before it got dark. That was hard to get used to since it gets dark by 8:30 pm at the house. This time we went “jeepin'” a couple times with my in-laws and their friends. That was so awesome! Nothing like riding trails in a jeep with the windows and top down. Even crossing the mountains was incredible. Yea, it's fine in the truck, but there is just something about a jeep! I believe it was made for the mountains!


We picnicked in a different spot every day. I think my favorite was the spot we found next to the

Nantahala River. I remembered hearing about this river from my dad and brother years ago with Boy Scouts - and how my dad saw a lot of this river from in the water on their white water rafting trips! Listening to the sound of the river rushing over rocks was simply peaceful! Months later, I can still here that sound... And we walked – up and down mountain trails. Remember when I said mountain miles were longer than Florida miles? Those trails proved my theory. But the scenery was worth it.


Our first day out, we saw a young bear run across the road in front of us. While that was the only bear we saw, we did see our fair share of turkeys, deer, elk, and groundhogs throughout the week. The next day, we climbed the stairs to Chimney Rock, Devil's Head, and Exclamation Point. By the time we came back down, our feet were too tired to walk the mostly flat mile trail to the waterfall nearby. Oh, and it was SO HOT that day! Hardly a cloud in the sky, so the view was spectacular! Moon Pie's least favorite part of the whole trip was the winding mountain roads. Before we left the flatland of Florida, I bought some ginger essential oil to help with motion sickness. But it was back at the campground. Poor girl! I didn't leave without it after that.



Besides Chimney Rock, we saw the Devil's Courthouse, Graveyard Fields, Mountain Farm Museum via the walking trail, Cades Cove, Wayah Bald, and Nantahala Lake. At Graveyard Fields, we walked about two miles to see the Upper Falls and Lower Falls. The trail to Upper Falls was pretty flat through the valley. Til we got closer to the falls. We were even able to walk up close to the falls. Coming back down, we told the girls over and over to go slow and watch their step. We were concerned about Moon Pie's feet getting to far ahead of herself and falling. After all, we are flat-landers. Well, I decided it was better for Hubby to hold my cell phone instead of it staying in my back pocket – in case I fell on my butt. I believe God was actually directing that decision, because the very next second, I slipped and fell on my butt with my feet in the water! Gosh, that hurt!


If you've been following my blog for very long, you know Muscadine has eczema. Most recently we discovered high copper levels (more in another post), and after making some additional changes, her skin cleared dramatically. So much so that you can't even tell she is affected by it.

Because of her food intolerances, traveling can be a challenge. It takes much planning and preparation. Yes, I stress out before we go anywhere. And I have to start way ahead of time. This time I still stressed, but it was much easier because she is able to tolerate more foods that she could before. But there are still some things Muscadine doesn't get to enjoy like “normal” kids. Like roasting marshmallows or hot dogs. A few years ago, we discovered that “lamb dogs” can be roasted on stick like hot dogs. Last year at Thanksgiving, I learned how to make marshmallows. Although they don't roast like store bought marshmallows, they do hold up well enough to let her “roast” them. And they taste wonderful! Matter of fact, I prefer the taste of my homemade marshmallows to the store bought ones. This summer, 'Moon Pie' discovered moon pies. Matter of fact, she ate so many, we started calling her 'Moon Pie'. Muscadine can't have moon pies...at least not yet. So that is my next project – to make my own version of moon pies that she CAN eat.

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