The Robertsons have their family reunions every two years. Since the family is spread out across 7 states, we see a lot of the country. This year we spent the better part of a week in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is beautiful and wild, but lacks the iconic destinations of Yosemite or Yellowstone. So, I really wanted to find a hike that demonstrated the personality of the park- somewhere that was unique to the area to show off the charm of the park. A quick hike to Alum Caves turned out to be the perfect solution.
The trail was beautiful and forgiving- shaded by a rich, green canopy of trees and lined with ferns and mossy stone and thick rhododendrons. They were losing their blooms, but the trail was littered here and there with the falling white petals. We followed the river for the first mile and a half, which added to a cool breeze and cut the Appalachian humidity. It was exactly the untamed adventure I was looking for!
The main highlights of the hike were the stone stairway through the rock arch and the cave with its views of the park. It was also so fun to be on the trail with family- even though I was a bit slower than the rest of the group. Six months pregnant and over 1,000 foot climb in elevation, but I made it!
And I'm grateful for this family- for making a hiker out of me, for helping me see the country, for teaching me to stop and take a picture, and for making me one of you :)