Friday, August 13, 2021
We took the morning Loop Drive, which is always fun. After breakfast the plan was to hike to Abrams Falls, about a 5-mile hike, then tube Little River in the afternoon. The Airstream’s vitals were getting low, so I opted out to go dump the tanks, fill up with fresh water and see if I could find a sunny spot to get some solar power. We have been here for six days with no hookups with two kids and now three adults, all charging iPads, phones, watches and a computer. We are getting solar each day, but it is minimal, since we are in the shade.
I hooked up, went to the dump station, which is a good one, then went over to the Loop parking lot, the only open, sunny area I have seen, except for in town. I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough room to turn around, but pulling over onto the grass, I was able to easily make the turn. I parked at the end of the lot, which wasn’t terribly busy in the middle of the day. Ahhh, 304 Watts of solar. It was hot in the sun, so I opened a window and turned the fans on.
I shook out the rugs and vacuumed the floors. I recently bought a Tineco battery-operated stick vacuum. I have been thinking about it for a long time, but finally did it after reading Consumer Reports, and I am quite happy with it. Sweeping isn’t difficult in an Airstream, but you can’t get into all the nooks and crannies.
I straightened up a bit, then downloaded pictures from the cameras. Josh has been using the camera with the telephoto lens and has really had fun with it. It’s a big, heavy lens and tough to handle, but once he learned to rest it on a window or door, he got better with it. He got some very good pictures along with a number of unfocused ones, but that’s part of the learning curve. He has a good eye for it.
At 12:30, I thought I should bet back. Another four hours and I would have been fully charged, but I thought I should go. I parked the trailer and put everything back – bikes, drying racks, the stove and all the hanging, wet clothes.
The group got back at 2:30. They had a good hike and a swim at the base of the falls. After a bit of a rest, we drove into town to tube Little River again. The water had dropped a couple of inches since Monday, making it more difficult to negotiate the rocks and rapids. There are three or four fun rapids on this section. The tubes are very sturdy, bouncing off rocks with ease. We had to lift our buts many times to avoid getting banged by slightly submerged rocks. It’s a fun, little trip that took us 2 hours. The kids went for ice cream at Burger Master.
It rained like crazy coming up the mountain. Of course I had decided to air out my tent, pulling out the sheet, sleeping bag and air mattress. Now they would all be wet and a mess. As we crossed the mountain and descended into Cades cove, the rains stopped. Martha had not gone for the tube ride, but wanted to chill after the hike. She had put my things back into the tent😊
We cooked potatoes and onions in the cast iron skillet and chicken strips on the griddle, along with cucumbers, tomatoes and green peppers. Karen had brought bunt cake for an early celebration of Martha’s birthday.
We have had a great trip with the kids. With rain predicted every day, it hasn’t bothered us. We have had great weather. It’s always good to be in the mountains in August. We’ve had some great hikes, tubing and wildlife drives through Cades Cove Loop Trail. These mountains are gorgeous. I love the “smoke” in the Smoky Mountains, and we have seen some picture-perfect trout streams. On the hike yesterday we saw two fishermen coming back down the mountain. They said they caught one fish, but knew they were fishing behind someone else. Brook trout are like that. Once someone has been through, they become very wary. You could spend all summer fishing in here. The park is huge, and there is a lot of back country to hike in, complete with shelters and campsites. What a treasure!