It took us all day to do a 5 mile hike?!

We have been internetless for a day, so did not get to post these last night.
Actually, come to think harder about our schedule – we left about 8:30 AM and did not return until 1:15 AM (this morning).

We started by going to a Smokey Mountains Visitor Center.
This happens to be located at the ball park where Rey works.
We dropped him for work and spent a bit in the Visitor’s Center deciding where we should spend our day.

First stop was a Food City grocery store, to lay in supplies for lunch.
Oh, and gas was really the first stop, but that is like saying you have to occasionally stop for a restroom.
Then it was on towards, “the quiet side of the Smokey Mountains.” In other words, anywhere that is not close to Gatlinburg.
We went through Townsend, and on to the Cades Cove loop. This is a scenic 11 mile drive, that will likely take you an hour to traverse. The road is like a grown up kiddie-car race track loop. Up and down over small hills and valleys, with turns to the left and right. Except there is only one lane, and the cars move exceedingly slowly.

About halfway through the loop there is a trailhead for the Abram’s Falls hike.
We parked and with our sandwiches in hand started along the 2.4 mile trail to the falls. The trail “follows” Abrams Creek, but with some ups that the creek just doesn’t take. They tend to flow downhill only. If you can see the creek in this aerial shot (dark line amidst the trees), the ups are where the red line (very approximate trail location) does not follow the creek.

Abram's Falls trail - very approximate

We stopped for the first sandwich at a location where there were sittable rocks in the stream.

Carl, along Abram's Creek

Evil? Good? You decide.

Evil? Good? You decide which is which.

Then we continued on to the falls.

Two Wild Ones

There was the adventure of finding different fungi along the route – but that is more of Pooh’s thing. I did try to capture some wildlife.

The Swallowtail butterfuly is flying. The blur at the top right of the picture.

Then we reached the falls.

Abram's Falls

We did this hike last year as well. “It was so nice, we did it twice.” This year there seemed to be more families. Although towards the end there seemed to be more groups of old kids/young adults, making their way to their local swimming hole.

The Swimming Hole

And a butterfly (Blue Skipper?) that held still for a picture.

Carl, or his presence, always attracts wildlife

If you look closely, there is a butterfly on the top of the boot.

Cooling our heels

After the trek back, we dipped our feet into the cool waters.

Now Carl, make sure you don't track anything into the car.

But this was just the entre to the day.
After spending the next half hour completing the rest of the Cades Cove loop (who knew a few deer could cause a traffic jam), we were out on the open road.

Back to Rey’s office at the ballpark.
As it turns out, they were using the ballpark for the opening ceremonies for a softball tournament.

Softball teams on parade (the fans are all in the shade, out of sight).

We got to see the last hour, and waited for Rey to finish cleaning up and putting away.

Rey hard at work guarding a pitching mound

Finally released, it was on to Knoxville.
Dinner at the Downtown Grill and Brewery.
Very good food – and enough that three of us needed a to go box.
Which went back to the car, and we headed for the piece de resistance.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

The 10:05 show.
It was a good show, and none of us even threatened to fall asleep.

After we returned home, I looked at my phone, and it said 1:15!
Thankfully, Rey was the only one in our party that had to get up and go to work this morning. And we have spent a relatively quiet day.

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