Today is my 33rd birthday, and honestly I only care because I can leverage it for an adventure. I have never been really big on birthdays, I mean I literally missed my own 22nd birthday and didn’t realize it until 4 days later when I hopped on FB and saw all of the well wishes. Suddenly all of the missed calls from my mom made sense…
At any rate, I used my birthday as an excuse to drag Pretty Lady on an adventure. I mean seriously, just look at Jeff, doesn’t he look like he’s ready for a good time?
As with all of my adventures, the weather was pure and total shit when I left Bloomington.
Needless to say our departure on Friday took a bit longer than planned on Friday afternoon. Caitlyn was a tad bit skeptical of this whole no reservations, winging it style of mine. Add in a good dose of my ever growing repertoire of “dad” jokes and I am lucky to have survived to the county line.
The drive to the Smokie Mountains was an eventful one. We stopped several times for snacks, gas, to stretch our legs, and for snacks. The most eventful stop was in Southern Kentucky.
I do not have any photos because Pretty Lady wouldn’t let me. That being said, the line for the ladies room was a spectacle. There was a woman in her 30’s who was legitimately sucking on a pacifier. Another individual was a stoned early 20’s girl who didn’t understand that the gas station didn’t have fire wood. She also kept asking if they had a fire stick, which according to this girl is a fake log that you set on fire and it burns for hours. It is not to be confused with a fire starter, she was adamite. The cashier ended up telling her to try the Tractor Supply down the road, they might have a “fire Stick”. There were also several other ladies in line, but those two were very note worthy.
Once we got down to the Smokies, the goal was to find a campground. The US Park Service websites were useless when it came to figuring out what was and wasn’t open. I found one ahead of time that was a first come first serve deal, but it was the furthest away. So we opted to just drive around checking the campgrounds until we found one that was open or made it to the furthest one. Around 10pm we admitted defeat without making it to the last campground (it was probably full anyway) and checked into the Hampton in Gatlinburg. It was not something I would have done solo, but I knew that Pretty Lady was already a bit on edge about the whole “no plan” thing, so we took full advantage of my Diamond Status and got a suite on a steep discount for the night. The next morning we got our Covid-19 mandated “to-go” breakfasts and found out about a private campground not too far away. So we set out.
On the drive I found a pull off with a road side waterfall. So of course I had to go check it out.
Pretty Lady was not as adventurous… but I know she got some great photos (her take on the trip will be coming out soon!)
The Greenbrier Campground was glamping… I mean the basket ball court and playground don’t bother me. The marble bath house, pool table and very nice custom corn hole boards were a bit much for me. Also, I don’t think I’ve been asked if I wanted to attend church so many times since I tried to date a evangelist…
Once our campsite was set up we hiked up to Rainbow Falls. Pretty Lady may not have been the happiest hiker on that mountain, but she pushed through like a champ. To be fair, according to the sign, it was only a 2.6 mile hike one way. Yet some-how our Fitbits tracked us doing 7.3 miles round trip. So lets be honest, there was some cursing, some threatening, and at one point I thought cannibalisms might be on the table, but we made it!
The entire hike, everyone we passed told us that it is worth the hike. A few of them gave landmarks so we’d know how far we had left to go. Several of them even used the tried and true “Mile, Mile and A Half” response. I knew this translates to “I have no freaking clue how far it is, but it’s doable.” Caitlyn however did not understand why I chuckled at this backpacker joke. Just for the record, she does not think it’s funny. That being said, the hike was totally worth it!
The hike back down was a beautiful one and our spirits were a tad bit higher. So we stopped several times to take photos and also to soak our feet in the stream. The water was freezing, but felt amazing!
The next morning we leisurely broke down camp while the church service was going on about 100 feet away. I want everyone to take a look at this couple’s sleeping bag we picked up for the trip. Pretty Lady and I have battled over blankets before, but try being trapped in a sleeping bag with your partner… lets just say we took the whole “laying diagonally across the bed” discussion to a new level.
On our drive over to our daily adventure we managed to snap a photo of the mountain we climbed the day before.
Our adventure for the day was taking a “Double Ducky” down the Nantahala. A double ducky is basically an inflatable kayak made for two. This was Caitlyn’s first time doing white water. This was my 5th or 6th time on this particular river, so she agreed to give it a try since it was my birthday. She was absolutely certain that she was going to die. I am happy to report that not only did she survive, she enjoyed it. Side note, we will be borrowing a canoe and heading out to the lake for some lessons on proper paddling techniques.
That evening we ended up in another campsite I wouldn’t normally have chosen… a KOA. That being said, this one wasn’t that bad. I mean yes we were basically camping on top of the neighbors, but otherwise it was fine.
On the final morning of our adventure, we didn’t know what our plans were going to be, just that we needed to end up back in Bloomington, IN.
So we stopped at a cavern on our way out of town. It was a fun tour, but honestly trying to get decent photos was probably what I enjoyed the most. Especially since Pretty Lady wouldn’t make out with me when they turned the lights off to show us how dark it can be…
The drive home was a good one. We made it home in one piece, still like each other, and I think Pretty Lady now understand a little bit more about why I like to have the kinds of adventures I do!
Also, please note that we are still running the one liner competition on our Facebook. If you really want me to have a happy Birthday you should hop on there, share this post, and enter in the competition!
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