Smoky Mountain Trip Days 4 & 5; Bears, Caverns, & Clingman's Dome

Day 4 dawned bright and sunny; we have such spectacular views!  Since the sun sets off the balcony we can only see sunrise through the lightening of nearby mountain peaks.




We did take a quick walk around the "neighborhood"; these pictures don't do it justice but in order to have these amazing views the house is perched on the very edge of the cliff and the roads are real knuckle biters (and we are quite used to driving in the New Hampshire mountains!).  





Just as we were getting ready to leave my mother in law came in to tell us a mother bear and her cubs were right by our cars.  They are SO CUTE!  We made sure to stay well away and just zoom in with our lenses.  




We headed out to explore the Forbidden Caverns first and then planned to spend our afternoon around the pool. For some reason the cave photos loaded in reverse but I don't think that really matters. It was so nice and cool in the caves and it's the first cave we've toured where you can both see and hear rushing waters. 






It was hot at the pool and we weren't even there an hour and I managed to get a slight sunburn! I also started a new book my mom gave me just before we left; I'm excited that it's by the same author as Luck of the Titanic which I really enjoyed. 







My husband and I spent some time in the hot tub on our deck then watched a bit of TV.  We headed down the mountain around dinnertime since my sister wanted to check out Anakeesta; a local attraction.  We rode the Chondola up (part chair/ part gondola ride) then a few of the teens rode the mountain coaster.  We enjoyed the treetop walk and then went up into the vista tower to enjoy the views. 






I loved that their gardens looked like tubes of paint spilling out over the lawn!




It was nice and cool on top of the Vista tower and you could see very far. 


Three of the teens elected to sit out the walk in the shade on some rocking chairs



 By the time we finished and got ice cream we discovered that the chondola was shut down for the night due to storms in the area; we had to wait forever for a bus/trolly to take us down the mountain.  Despite closing just about every single thing up on top of the mountain they were still trucking people up!  

The ride back up the mountain to our rental was real nerve wracking in the dark and we had some lightening too to add to the fun.. thankfully the rain held off until we got inside the house!  

We weren't sure day 5 was going to be all that nice.  The forecast for July 13th called for 100% chance of rain.  My sister and her boys were heading home and planned to leave early in the morning so they could make it back to their house by dinner.  Luckily the weather cleared a bit and we all decided to take one last drive into Rocky Mountain National Park to check out Clingman's Dome.






Looking straight down at the tree tops and path from the top of the Dome

It was still pretty cloudy/foggy on top of the dome so we didn't see much but it was still a nice climb and we enjoyed reading the placards.  After hiking we said goodbye to my sister and nephews and headed out on a short hike to Andrews Bald.  




The weather was perfect for a hike!

    The trail was very wet after the rain



It took us nearly 2 hours to hike the 3.4 miles since it got pretty warm and muggy on the way back and we needed rest stops along the way (we hiked the 1.7 out in under an hour without any stops).  







After our hike we made a few stops down the mountain to snap some photos of waterfalls and the swiftly moving river after last nights' rain then went to the house and rested, ate lunch, and saw the bear family again! 




My husband and the boys went to the movies to see Thor while my mother in law and I elected to enjoy a nice quiet house to ourselves.  

Days 1-3

Days 6- 7

Linking up with: Spread the Kindness,








Comments

  1. Looks and sounds amazing! I would be scared on that drive home- ha! ;) Holly @ Pink Lady

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    1. I was gripping the arm rest extra hard that night! LOL

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  2. Aw I like the bear babies! We did not know about the caverns but we did go up to Clingman's Dome!

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    1. I was so bummed that we picked the foggiest day to do that; but it made since since it was on my sister's way home to North Carolina anyway.

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  3. The adventure continues with the bears and the weather! I have been to that area many times but have never seen a bear.

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    1. We could not get over how many bears we saw that week; this same mama and her cubs we saw almost daily but we also saw one or two while out in Smoky Mountain national park too (thankfully never while we were out hiking or walking!).

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  4. The views really do look amazing and it sounds like you've had some great adventures.

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  5. Look at those bears! Just precious! It looks like y'all had such a fun trip!

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  6. Of course the boys went to see Thor...how did they like it?? Those baby bear cubs are adorable. Talk about a zoo in your backyard kind of thing, haha.
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    Replies
    1. They loved Thor! I know as soon as it's streaming we'll get to see it over and over again.

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  7. Those bear cubs are so cute!! What an amazing vacation. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

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    1. You're welcome! I love sharing our adventures and it's a great way to remember them.

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  8. It's so beautiful. We visited that area for a long weekend a few years ago around Thanksgiving. It is so lush and green in the summer!

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  9. I do love the Smokey Mountains, and your photos are making me miss it! In all of our trips to the area, we never once saw a bear let alone a mom and her cubs! We rented a cabin in the woods one summer with multiple levels. The kids decided they were sleeping on the same level as us once they saw the signs about bears! I love caves...except for when they're tight...then my claustrophobia kicks in big time!

    http://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. This cave was nice and airy; thankfully! I don't do well in confined spaces either.

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  10. The caves looked really cool. I went to some in Gibraltar and these remind me of them. I have always wanted to go to the Smoky Mountains. Your photos are beautiful!

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  11. Replies
    1. We were thrilled!! We saw a bear inside the national park too but it was much too far away to be able to photograph.

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  12. I so want to go back one day, Joanne, as it’s changed so much.

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    1. It really has changed A LOT! I didn't recognize anything from when I went as a kid.

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  13. Those caves are fascinating and seeing a mother bear with cubs is so special. Love the gardens with tubes of flower-paint. Amazingly beautiful and fun vacation!

    -Soma

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    1. It was so special to see the mother bear with her cubs; we had been warned by many people that they never saw any bears on their trip!

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  14. I need to add Forbidden Caverns to my list for next time we're in that area.

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    Replies
    1. It was definitely a trip highlight! It's out in the middle of nowhere though.

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