This past weekend was my fifth wedding anniversary! I can hardly believe that it has been five whole years, and I am immensely grateful for the five years that I have been able to spend with the love of my life, Jake.
We celebrated this milestone by traveling back to the area where we spent our honeymoon five years ago, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and we stayed an entire week, Friday night through Friday morning! We hiked in the Smoky Mountain National Park, walked through downtown Gatlinburg, went to McKays in Knoxville, met with several friends, and simply enjoyed being up in the mountains. Everything about this trip was wonderful, and I am grateful that Jake and I were blessed with this opportunity!
Fall is My Favorite Season
The end of October is my favorite time of year because the leaves begin to change color, the air turns crisp, and smells like baking bread or cinnamon tend to linger. In addition, this time of year is the perfect time to hike and be outdoors, and being able to get out of our cabin and hike in the Smoky Mountains was incredible. I loved hearing the streams move through the rocks, and the damp, fresh scent of walking through the forest was invigorating. Jake and I hiked three different days and walked close to twenty miles, which was amazing because five years ago we were both so tired that we hardly did anything on our honeymoon. It was fun to come back to the area and actually be able to enjoy some of the activities around our cabin!
Three Hiking Trails
The first trail Jake and I chose to hike was the Chimney Tops because we had both hiked the trail over ten years ago with our families, and we thought it would be fun to hike the trail together. Even though it was definitely a tough climb, the view at the top of the ascent was well worth the effort! Sadly, due to the forest fire that occurred in November 2016, the end of the trail has been closed. The end of the trail only provides a view of the Chimney Tops rather than letting people hike all the way to the rock formation. However, it is quite the view!
On the second day we decided to hike, we chose a trail called “Porter’s Creek Trail.” This particular trail closely followed the creek, and it ended with a small waterfall! It was a beautiful walk, and although it did have a few steep inclines, overall, the hike was much easier than hiking to the Chimney Tops. Additionally, this trail had some historical pieces to see as well, and we passed by a old homestead, many old, stone, walls, and a small family graveyard. Although it is interesting to see the dates on an old graveyard, I often find it very sobering, especially, when there are multiple grave stones with birth and death dates only one to two years apart.
The third trail we hiked was the “Grapeyard Ridge Trail.” At the beginning of this trail, was a homestead with a small cabin and a barn, and it is amazing to think about how someone used to live on that piece of property! This trail was the hardest of the the three trails Jake and I hiked because the trail was constantly very steep going up and very steep going down. It also wound through many different terrains, and we crossed the creek five different times! When we reached the end of the trail, we were supposed to be able to see the site of a steam engine tractor wreck, but we looked everywhere and could not find any pieces of the engine. Later, when we got back to our cabin and looked at a map, we realized that there were two different trailheads, and we started on the wrong end to see the wreck!
Overall, this trip was absolutely wonderful, and I cannot wait to be able to hike more with Jake in the future! This was the first trip that we hiked together, and I learned that it is one of my favorite activities to do with Jake. We had fun celebrating five years of marriage, and we are looking forward to many more together!
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Best wishes and shalom, friends!