Apparently, we were all mistaken; the Titanic did NOT sink into the Atlantic on that fateful night almost 100 years ago. The Titanic was landlocked in Tennessee!
The drive into Great Smoky Mountains National Park is by far one of the most horrendous examples of capitalism and overstimulation imaginable. Think Clifton Hill times 300. One thousand even. You still will not understand what Sevierville, VA is like. In addition to passing a gigantic “sinking” cruise ship with fake floating iceberg, we were coughing and choking in the 100 degree heat, which seemed to only get worse as we sat through lines and lines of traffic entering Dolly Parton’s Stampede (the cowboy version of that Medieval Times place). Perhaps think a combination of Las Vegas, Clifton Hill, and any 1970s stop-off on the highway and you might just be getting an idea of what I’m talking about.
After suffering through the traffic and million billboards before the park--much of which I slept through since Phil was driving—we arrived desperate for any kind of physical activity to stretch our legs. The ranger pointed us in the direction of three hikes, of which we chose Chimney Tops.
Hey, I thought my roofing days were over!! The climb was very steep, basically hiking up the side of a mountain, but when we got to the top…geez, what a view. The mountain is made of this uplifted rock that is sometimes grey, but also shiny like copper at times. The surrounding mountains…indescribable.
We left the national park and were STARVING, so we stopped off for a bite to eat. Phil tried the fresh mountain trout…you just have to when you’re in the area, no? Unfortunately though, we finished much later than expected. Given that we had to be in Chattanooga the next morning, we were shooting to stay at a state park in the near vicinity. Welllllll, state parks close at 10pm and we didn’t arrive until midnight…slipped under the radar, though unintentionally and not for lack of trying...