The last camping trip of the year is always bittersweet. Sweet, because huddling together with friends by a fire on an October evening is just about perfection. Bitter, because, well, it's the last camping trip of the year—for me. Randy and all the menfolk will continue camping throughout the winter with Boy Scouts, but I reach my camping tolerance when I have to wear a ski jacket to bed.
This camping trip was especially wonderful because our beautiful Smoky Mountains were "closed" up until two days before our scheduled trip! What excitement there was around here when those crazies in DC decided we could have our park back. The whole thing reeked of insanity. But anyway, back to the mountains.
For a few years now we've been gathering with this same gang (actually, one family replaced another that couldn't go this weekend) to camp at Cades Cove and do the loop on bikes. But this year the Cades Cove campground was booked before we could reserve our spots. Our second choice was Cataloochee, but it was also booked. No one besides us had ever been to Cosby, so we thought we'd head there. It's one of the least used campgrounds in the Smokies, probably because it's a bit of a ways from Gatlinburg.
The weather was absolutely perfect—low 70s during the day, 40s at night. Perfect for soup and chili, hot chocolate and plenty of blankets.
We took a hike to Hen Wallow Falls on Saturday. This was a 4.4 mile round-trip hike, moderately strenuous. We were taking it very slowly with a 7-year-old, so we had plenty of resting times.
The falls are gentle and the rocks are fantastic for climbing on.
The boys, of course, had to explore all the nooks and crannies, including a cave or two. They are sitting waaaaay up on a ledge in this picture.
There's nothing better than a hammock and snack food after a hike.
The leaves were just starting to change there, so we got a good preview of the fall colors. Back here in town, we are just barely getting some color. With all the rain we've had, I predict fabulous fall colors!
It was a fabulous weekend, and we were all terribly reluctant to come back to reality. I could almost be convinced to do winter camping after a weekend like this. Almost.