You know those weekends that just rejuvenate you and you come back ready to take on the world? That’s what I feel like after this weekend. Sometimes you just need a weekend away in the mountains to relax and reset.
Meet: Dana, Lexi, Allison and Jackie.
We’ve all been friends since 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade. How crazy is that?! Jackie is finishing up a summer gig at the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont, where she’s an Environmental Educator. Lucky us, because she took us through some amazing parts of the National Park and taught us so much about wildlife conservation!
Cummins Falls State Park
This park is about an hour east of Nashville, where we flew into. We had some time to kill before our cabin was ready in the Smokies, so this was a great stop along our drive!
We took the shortcut route to the waterfall, but that doesn’t mean it was easy! You walk a steep decline down to the creek and then wind your way through the water by hopping rocks, walking through the creek and resting on the banks to find your way to the falls. Not going to lie, I slipped and fell on my stomach (thankfully I put my camera in my backpack literally 30 seconds before).
The falls are incredible. You can swim at the base, but we opted to hop around the rocks and make our way up to the waterfall, itself.
The hike back up the creek wasn’t bad, because we had already foraged a way, but going up the hill was intense. #LegDay
The best way I can describe Galinburg is the Wisconsin Dells on steroids. It’s a… strange… town. One minute, you’re driving through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the next you find yourself amidst hundreds of people and lots of chain restaurants.
It wasn’t all bad though…
When in Tennessee 😉
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the US- and it’s free! 11 million people visited last year. It’s a very accessible park, as there are roads that wind throughout it so many people drive around and stop on the side of the road to hop in the creek, swim, etc.
We went hiking for a few hours and it was absolutely beautiful. Luckily, we didn’t come across any bears or copperheads… though I secretly wanted to see a bear (from far away, of course)!
We even went off-trail to a secret swim hole and climbed a waterfall. However, I’ve been sworn to secrecy so I can’t share pics 🙂
On our way back to our cabin, Jackie showed us a natural spring where we filled up our water bottles. So tasty!
On Sunday, we drove around Cades Cove, an 11 mile loop around the most visited area of the park. Again, we didn’t see any bears, but we did see a lot of turkeys and a few deer.
Jackie is full of fun facts about wildlife and plants so she taught us how to identify different plants!
All in All
What a fantastic weekend! Our cabin was adorable, with views of the mountains (side note: if you’re ever wanting to visit this area, definitely use Eden Crest Vacation Rentals! We had a great experience.). We had fun cooking our meals together and relaxing after long days. And most importantly, we enjoyed each other’s company. It is rare to find lifelong friends in elementary school and I really lucked out!
Have you ever been to the Smoky Mountains? If you’ve been to both the Rockies and the Smokies, which mountain range do you like better?