Diane (my wife) and I headed off for our honeymoon. Destination Pigeon Forge Tennessee. It was about a 9 hour drive and on the way we listened to the radio, and finally popped in an audio book about making your second marriage work. It helped pass the time, and kept us alert. We got to Tennessee and when we got to Pigeon Forge it looked like a hillbilly version of the Vegas strip. Instead of spectacular hotels, you had a pancake house, and a pancake house, and a pancake house, and a pancake house, followed by, a pancake house. I’m not making this up. In a one mile stretch there were 5 pancake houses. I would also guess that on the other side of the pancake house was a “Barb B Cue” joint and on the other side of the pancake house was a fireworks place. With this in mind, if I ever meet someone with barbecue sauce on his shirt, maple syrup on his chin, and 9 fingers I’m going to guess he is from Pigeon Forge TN. On the other hand the Smokey mountains were breath taking. Seriously. Wow.
Luckily Diane said, “We better find the cabin before it gets dark” as I wanted to get something to eat. The map from the cabin people’s website said, “do not use mapquest or they will send you on dirt roads.” We followed the map and I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I mean I know it’s a mountain, but the road went almost straight up, and had serious hair pin turns with no guard rail. If you were to slide off the road, you were going straight down. Needless to say this made Diane just a smidge nervous. It had me clutching the wheel with both hands as I would white knuckle it around a corner hoping there was more road under my tires. Our drive was an even steeper climb which was off the previous steep climb road. It also had another turn “blind” turn where you have no idea what you are turning on to. It had rained a bit before we showed up, and in some cases water would come out of the mountain and make the road wet. Kind of an “instant river” right in the road. Consequently, when I went to climb our driveway I spun my tires. Luckily, I made it up on the second attempt.
Our log cabin was gorgeous. It had a pool table, Jacuzzi, full kitchen, etc. It just oozed cozy. It also had water pressure that dripped out of the shower. Consequently, we spent a large amount of our first day relaxing in the hot tub waiting for Gomer to show up and fix the water pressure issue. Later that day we decided to go hiking and get up close and personal with Mother Nature.
After talking with someone at the visitor center, we decided to go to Laurel Lake Water Fall trail. It was fairly short, paved, and sounded lovely. Now when we thin of bears we think of Yogi, Smokey, the Snuggle bear. All of these are our friends. They are funny, cute, cuddly. However, when we got to the trail, there was a sign that read “Dangers Bears Are Active In This Area Do Not Approach Them. Attacks on Humans Have Occurred inflicting serious injuries and death. Then under that sign was another sign. “DANGER Falling deaths have occurred closely control your children high vertical drop offs ahead and at falls area.” Well this adds a new slant to this lovely relaxing hike.
Then another thing dawns on us. This is the Smokey Mountains and any travel involves going up. A lot. Like turn the corner and there is another hill. And the sign was right. We had a small path about 5 feet wide (big enough for two people) and on the left we had the cliff of death and to the right we had a mountain that went straight up. Also the only straight road in Pigeon Forge is pancake alley. All other roads and paths curve and curve a lot . So we are hiking up the mountain and many times we are walking around rocks that are 8 to 10 feet tall. So you’re thinking if there is a bear on the other side of this rock, um, I’m SCREWED.
The level of awareness goes up tremendously when you are thinking “ACTIVE BEAR AREA.” Diane and both giggled as we admitted to looking at the path for paw prints. We made it to the falls. They were beautiful. We were amazed at the number of children who were not under control, and figured we would surely meet them at a restaurant later where they could scream bloody murder.
Later in the week we went to a little country church where they did church OLD School. I mean singing hymns with no organ out of a hymnal that I’m pretty sure Moses carried down with the 10 commandments. It was one of those fancy hymnals written on paper. But while we were there another couple who were visiting talked about how they too had gone hiking and indeed seen a bear. To this one of the town folk also told us to “Watch out for snakes – Copperheads to be specific.”
To this Diane announced, “I’m done hiking.”
I’ll have more stories about the honeymoon. It was the best of times it was the not so best of times. I’ve been telling people it was memorable, and it was.
Music: (at the beginning) Bluesgrass Album band the song is “Home Sweet Home.