Smokey Mountain Camping 2022

June 18, 2022

 It appears I've accidentally taken a bit of a blog break. 

As usual, summers are crazy here. We got out of school, went camping, came back in time for VBS, and then Jeremy left for Centrifuge with the youth group. 

Our first full day in Gatlinburg the guys all went golfing, the kids and I lounged around the campsite a long time before heading over to our friend's RV to hang out. 

Elliot, in his typical nature, couldn't just chill and found himself stung twice and very moody. Somehow later in the week waking up from a nap caused him to be even moodier than whatever creature stung him that morning. 

Go ahead and accept that this is in no particular order - and that we did something we rarely do on a camping trip... we went full tourist and weren't just playing and hiking for a week. 

The entire crew (us and our friends from Alabama) went to Wonderworks. I'm saying this as a mother of young kids and one is very much a sensory sensitive child - this is geared for the older children. I had fun at what I was able to do, however much of out time was trying to acclimate the kids to this. It was loud, big, and terrifying. We enjoyed it after the kids got use to being there, but I'll never travel without noise cancelling headphones ever again. 

Just some scenes from Greenbriar Campground below. 

A cousin of mine commented on Facebook about my AC - if you haven't read through my camping posts, you need to. We don't rough it for a week. It's as close to an RV set up as you can get a tent and I often feel super bougie next to the other campers. Granted I camped with a family who did all of this when I was in high school... I don't know why more people don't jump on this. 

Get a good air mattress. Rig up an AC - heck, buy a tent that accommodates an AC. I'm here to sleep great and enjoy playing outside in the mountains all week. (hence you don't see us summer camping in late summer or super far south) 

I couldn't for the life of me figure out what noise I was hearing early one morning. Eventually I discovered Elliot had stolen the lamp (the one in his hands) from outside the tent door and was opening it up and closing it back just to hear the plastic accordion material crunching. 

This series of photos are from Cade's Cove, and I've got a few suggestions for you when you visit. 

1. Ride in the back of a truck with a ton of people, rent one of the off road golf cart looking things they have all over town, ride in a convertible, or just ride a bike. 

Okay, that's just one long tip. 

But the point is, you'll be in stand still traffic for a long time seeing absolutely nothing. This will make it more interesting. Dylan (our friend's grandson and former youth kiddo) suggested we ride in the back of one truck (we were in two) and I'm so glad he did. 

It made that dull drive far more fun being piled up. Jeremy rolled down the back window of the truck and the kids just hopped in and out, we stood up and goofed off, and at times were reprimanded by the park rangers... but it was way better than sitting in the car for that long. 

I also suggest a massive purchase of donuts. Mad Dog on the way there (from Greenbriar) offers a ton of fun flavors to make the seat gripping ride up the mountain bearable for everyone that needed anxiety meds. 

We also ate dinner at the Paula Dean restaurant one night, and while it was expensive, everything tasted incredible. 

After dinner the kids got to see a water fountain show and they were in heaven. 

More scenes from the tent...

I was being told a scary story. 

The situations I've witnessed Jeremy nap in over the years make me question if he even has a pulse. 

If you go out of town, pick us up some travel brochures. They bought us hours of distraction. 

Bubba Gumps! 

Finally - which was actually the second night - we went to Dolly Parton Stampede. I wish I had more photos, but it was a cross between the anxiety that trick riders cause me mixed with kids who were having full panic spells. 

Angela had the idea to stuff Harrison's ears with a napkin and he was enthralled once the noise was taken down. 

Elliot on the other hand was so terrified of inside horses that he fell asleep on my lap. 

All the kids! 

The whole crew! We really had the best time camping this year. Not that I want to compete with y'all for campsites, but you're missing out on life by staying in hotels and condos. 

I also use camping as an excuse to not fix my hair or wear makeup for an entire trip - too much fuss.