Smokin’ in the Mountains...

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
Camping in the Great Smokey's

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We arrived at a very hot and humid Pigeon Forge City Park, just outside of the Smokey Mountains National Park. We exploded the bags in the usual manner and got ready for the day ahead.  The days' activity was a very expensive horse riding trek in our opinion so we decided to give it a miss and chill in the park and maybe take a walk, but it was not long before our plans had to change!!

We drove from the City park across to the Smokey’s Park and ended up dropping the majority of the bus off at the horse riding as they were all keen to partake!  The bus left them there and then headed to our campsite.  For a while we had been discussing the fact that there was one animal we were still yet to see....  En route the bus came to a standstill behind around 15 cars who had stopped to take a look at a wild bear who was climbing up a tree.  It took us around 5 minutes to get to the front of the queue, at which point the bear had decided that he had had enough of being stared at and slowly climbed down the tree, wandering off into the woods.  Though we did not manage to get a picture of him, we did see him climb down and slowly amble along, and thought at least it was another box ticked!

As we arrived at camp we were first to get the tent up, a job that Chris was now starting to despise!  Shortly afterwards the rain started and our thoughts of it passing over quickly were soon dashed as we spent the whole afternoon in it!  When we went back to your tent it was waterlogged so we had to drag it to another patch, luckily the others were horse riding so we had plenty of space.  We tried to spend the time productively, Chris had a shave in the Park toilets in the dark and missed quite a few patches!  Annabelle washed her hair in the sink as Chris poured water from the canister over her head.  As the sunburn on Chris’s back was still very raw indeed (so raw he could not sit properly on the bus) we decided to try and find water for a bit of relief!  On the way into the park and just next to our campsite there was a river under the bridge, so despite the sudden cold weather we left our clothes under the bridge and went for a dip, cold for Annabelle but bliss for Chris’s back!!! 

By the time night came we had a little surprise. ..we were taking a little break (A.K.A  sleep) when we heard the bus arriving least that is what we thought!  We looked out to see another Green Tortoise bus arriving at camp, this bus was the Southern Crossing going from New York to San Francisco but in the opposite direction to ourselves. Later it was interesting to listen to some of the people on that bus who were also on a full tour of the US, just like us, but going in the opposite direction...

Dinner that night was Thai Green Curry which Annabelle loved and Chris didn’t!  The night did improve as we all gathered together around the eating area to drink and chat amongst ourselves.  The reason this place is called the Smokey’s is the eerie fog that descends on top of the trees at dusk, this night was no exception and it prompted a series of ghost encounters between us!

Some of our bus went over to extend an olive branch to the other bus, unfortunately we were selfish travellers (a bit like Susan really) and stayed where we were, chatting and laughing with the usual characters (Irish Gary and Scottish Joanne)!  A bit later, feeling a little drunk we retired to bed, maybe we would see more of the Smokey’s the following day?? 
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