Monday, May 6, 2013

A Weekend Away: Cade's Cove/ Smoky Mountains

My younger brother is finishing up his undergrad degree in biology and recently was offered a crazy amount of extra credit for going up to the Smokies & doing a guided hike or two. It was one of his harder classes & my parents love the area, so they quickly arranged to make it a family trip to the mountains- L included. 

Romantic dinner on the way

I’m pretty sure they knew that I wouldn’t really want to go without him, since it was our one year anniversary and all that weekend, so they were kind  enough to invite both of us along. Next thing we knew, we were walking an 11 mile loop at Cade’s Cove.

Yes, you heard me- 11 miles. The loop is a gorgeous nature walk/jog/drive that you can cut short to just go 4 or 9 mile trek or brave the whole 11. Seeing how competetive L is, he said he was down for 11 miles.

Near the beginning
He also has told me he doesn’t think he’s ever walked that long in his life, multiple days combined. Knowing that, I knew it would be an adventure to remember. And oh, it was a memorable one.

We knew going into the walk that there was a possibility of rain that day, but we decided to just ignore that thought and went on our merry way, ready to face the beast that lie ahead.

I don't think he was praying we'd get finished, but I could be wrong...
We got a ways in and it began- it started sprinkling, we thought ‘eh, nothing too crazy, we’ve got this’, then it got a little heavier rain. At that point, we were 6 or 7 miles in, so we figured we’d try and stick it out.

Started sprinkling, 7 miles left in the loop! Heavy rain lie ahead...

Well, then it really rained. A lot. There was no thunder or lightning and quite a few folks, including a park ranger, checked on us to make sure we were alright and see if we wanted a ride the last 4 or 5 miles to the finish.  Did we take it? Of course not- we were on an adventure!

After almost 3 hours, we finally completed the walk &, well, you can see the result in the picture- we were drenched to the bone & I honestly don’t think I got totally nice & warm again until the next day, but it was worth it.

Drenched was an understatement at the end.
I’ve done a half marathon before and the 9 mile loop at the Cove last year, so I knew that I could tackle the beast that was that long distance (and hills- oh the hills on the backside!), but L was a little unsure but didn’t say it (atleast I’m pretty certain of that...).   Towards mile 10, he did say he was almost over it, but I started that around mile 9, so I didn’t see it as any sort of complaining at all.  

So, we did it- and we did it drenched. And it was kinda fun & I’m glad we have that memory to add to our list of things that L & I have done together (though I did promise we wouldn’t ever do the 11 miles in the rain ever again).  I do have to say, having that time together to talk about whatever came to mind & just let it go was a great thing, too.

So was it a success? I think so. We did much better there than with our outlet mall shopping, too (there was nothing priced decent, pretty much!).

Oh- and if you're wondering- this is what I had after the walk- and it was soooo yummy, probably moreso than had I eaten it earlier than 2 pm lunch....

Hot ham & cheese. NOM.
Where do you like to go walking? Know of any good trails/areas around Chattanooga you’d like to share? 

"Adventure is out there!" (even if you get soaked by the rain!)

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