Amber and I arrived home a couple days ago after spending the week in the Smokies with my family. It was a really restful and peaceful vacation. My parents rented a sweet house up on the mountainside, outside of Gatlinburg, TN. We took a couple nice hikes, including an 8 mile roundtrip hike to the Ramsey Cascades, a 90 ft waterfall.
We spent a lot of time relaxing at the pool and the house and not as much in the tourist traps of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, except for some good ice cream and pancakes and a round of mini-golf of course.
By the end of the week, Amber and I were a bit sad that we had not yet seen a bear after pretty much everyone else had. My parents saw one as they were opening the door when they first arrived. My dad saw it out of the corner of his eye and thought at first it was a dog and reached over to pet it! My brother was out on a trail run and saw a couple cute little cubs, followed by the sound of a growling mama bear to his other side. His pace picked up a bit after that :) But, as Amber and my sister and I headed out, winding our way down the mountain road, we were greeted by a big black bear slowly making his way across the road. A great finish to a great vacation.