July 29 - by Emma
Today we woke up and decided that we were going to drive to Clingsman dome instead of hiking there because it would have been 16 miles, which was a couple miles linger than my Dad estimated. Clingsman dome is the tallest point in the park, and it is 6643 feet. When we got to the Clingsman dome parking area we had to walk a half mile uphill to get to the top. When we got to the top of it we saw the town, trees, and mountains. On the way down from the dome we saw lots of bumblebees, and we started to pick them up because we thought they don't sting, but then my sister Katelyn got stung on the hand!! When we got to the bottom of the trail there was a Clingsman dome gift shop, and we went in for a minute, and I bought a stuffed bear. When we got to the RV we drove to a trailhead that took you to a waterfall called Rainbow Falls.
That trail wasn’t really scenic because we were in the woods. One thing that we did see was lots of salamanders in the creek, and the longest one we saw was 8 inches. When we got to the water fall we took some pictures, and then we had a snack. I think this water fall looked pretty cool because it was really long, and skinny. On the way down from the waterfall we saw a tarantula that had a really big tummy! I really liked walking in these woods because it looked like we were in the rain forest. The reason why it looked like we were in the rainforest was that it was humid, there was lots of moss, there were birds chipping, and creeks running. When we finally got back down to the RV we drove to our campsite, and on the way we stopped at a ranger station to let the rangers see Katelyn’s bee sting.
When we were done in the ranger station we drove to our campsite, and when we got there we ate dinner and then went to bed.
July 30 - by Katelyn
Today we went on a 7 mile hike to see another waterfall
Today I got up at 10:00 am and went to the Visitors Center. There, we went to a Ranger Program about toys. While I was at the program I learned about the jobs and toys that the children had in the 1800's. I got to use a real washboard and wash clothes. I also got to make a toy called a cookie. After we did that, we went on another hike to a waterfall. On this hike I saw a lot of snails and millipedes.
We were also hiking by a river, so we got to see some little fish from time to time. When we got to the waterfall I was surprised to see a bunch of people swimming in the water that was sort of dammed up by sticks, rocks, and debris. I could not resist going into the water, so I went in and got right up close to the waterfall. At first I was scared because I thought that the force of the waterfall might push me under, but realized that if I stayed on one side of the waterfall I would be fine. Then, I jumped of a rock right next to the waterfall. While I was jumping I had to tuck in my legs because there was a rock a little bit under the water. I jumped first, but Emma was scared to jump at first, so she didn’t do it.
After that I did it again so dad could get the waterfall in the picture and Emma finally did it. Then, we ate some Cracker Jacks, and I fell on a rock, so I had to walk slowly. Then, we hiked back to the RV and ate dinner. After that we went to bed. Other than falling, I had a great day. July 31 - by Madison
Today we left the Smokey Mountains and drove to Cumberland Gap, Virginia. Before we left we decided to attend 2 final ranger programs. While we were driving there we saw a big traffic jam and we learned that there were 3 baby bears with their mom in the woods! I was really excited because we haven’t seen a bear for the whole south trip. This was the first time we have seen bears in a tree, so that was really exciting as well. The 3 babies were so cute because they were in the trees, fighting and growling at each other. The babies were really little, and they looked like fuzzy and cute remote control teddy bears.
We watched them play fight, have the mom separate them, and eat berries. My favorite was watching them play because they would fight and then 1 would slip, so the others had to help pull it up. After about 20 minutes, we noticed that it was getting late and we would miss the ranger programs if we didn’t leave. I didn’t want to stop watching them, but I’ve been begging my Dad since the 1st
day to take us to the blacksmithing program. When we got to the Visitor Center, we decided to attend two programs: Blacksmithing and Civil War History. My favorite was blacksmithing because we got to make a dinner bell, which was hands-on work in the blacksmith’s shop. I got to heat the fire up, hammer and shape the metal, and those were really fun things to do because I have never done them before. After the programs we drove to Andrew Johnson National Monument, which was about an hour and a half away. On the way we were listening to the Dave Ramsey Show, which is where people call Dave and talk about their financial problems. We thought that this was really funny because he would praise the people who called to thank him for helping them get out of debt, and yell or scold the people who were in debt and "making stupid moves with their money". Also, every time someone called and asked Dave how he was doing, Dave always replied by saying “Better than I deserve to be.” When we arrived at the Monument, I learned that Andrew Johnson was the 17th
President of the United States, and he became President because he was Vice President when Abe Lincoln was assassinated.
I learned that he was making choices that the Congress didn’t agree with, so they voted to impeach him. To impeach him, 2/3 of the congressmen had to say he was 'guilty’, but luckily he avoided this vote by 1 because 35 said he was ‘guilty’ and 16 said that he was not guilty. After we learned what happened while he was President, we visited the house that he lived in after he was president. I thought that his house was big for the time that he lived because it had 3 big rooms for 2 people. I’ve noticed an interesting trend about the early presidents, which is that they often didn’t have parents, money, or school. I learned that when Andrew was 3 years old, his dad died and his mom wasn’t able to take care of him, so she sent him away to work at a tailor shop.
After a couple years he ran away and married Eliza, who taught him how to read and write. From there, he began a career in politics which led him to the Presidency. After we left the home we went to Cumberland Gap and then went to our campground. When we got there we went to bed. I had a very action packed day.