Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Our Smokey Mountains Vacation - Day Three, Part Two: Little River Road and the Gatlinburg Trail

This post is part of a travel series of our vacation in the Smokey Mountains.  To start at the beginning, go HERE!  The rest of the post in chronological order are HERE and HERE!

On our third day in the Smokey Mountains we got up super early to drive Cades Cove Loop Road.  I had read how insanely busy this road is because it is one of the most popular attractions in the park, but because we arrived at the gate's entrance before it even opened, we had no issues whatsoever.  By the time we finished the loop, we still had a lot of daytime left to explore more.  We decided to then take another scenic drive, "Little River Road" and do a short hike.  "Little River Road" is right on the way to Cades Cove Loop Road so you're gonna go through it one way or another, but it's nice to get out at one of the many scenic stops and look around.

Little River Road is a gentle, winding road between Gatlinburg and Townsend.  It is aptly named because there is a beautiful river on the side of the road all along the way.  The road spans 18 miles and includes overlooks, trailheads, picnic spots, campground access, and a waterfall that can be seen from the road (Meigs Falls).  There are seven points of interest on this road, so keep an eye out for those sign posts:

  1. Maloney Point – overlook
  2. Laurel Falls – easy hiking trail to beautiful and very popular waterfall
  3. Elkmont – campground, hiking trails (and the fun & easy Little River Trail)
  4. Metcalf Bottoms – great picnic area
  5. The Sinks – waterfall
  6. Meigs Falls – waterfall (visible from road)
  7. Townsend Wye. (source)
We only stopped three times:  at both waterfalls and at a river view (see video at end of post).  We planned on hiking Laurel Falls but it was so crowded by the time we got there, we decided to save it for the next morning.

There are two notable waterfalls on "Little River Road":  Meigs Falls (Stop 6) and The Sinks (Stop 5).  

Because we were driving back to Gatlinburg from Cades Cove, we were taking our tour backwards and stopped at Meigs Falls first.  This falls is right off the road so there is no hiking involved.  Just pull your car over and enjoy!

This first photo shows the falls as if you were standing on the side of the road.  It's far off in the distance, but still quite visible.

I zoomed in so you can see the falls closer.

I've also included a short video of this falls at the end of this post.

Our next stop is the main attraction of this road:  The Sinks.

This waterfall has a small parking lot that is pretty tricky to get in and out of and unfortunately is always filled up with cars.  Theres no where to park on the road, so you just have to wait for an empty spot to open up.  

The Sinks formed where a beautiful mountain river makes an S-turn creating natural pools that are outlined on both sides by humongous river boulders (source). 

 Be sure to watch the short video of these falls that I included at the end of the post.  I feel videos capture the moving water better than any photo can. 

There is also another smaller waterfall on the other side of the bridge.

After driving in the car all day, with the exception of only short stops to get out and stretch our legs, we decided we were ready for some hiking.  Like I said earlier in the post, the plan was to hike to Laurel Falls, but due to the crowds, we had to change plans.  As we were driving back to our hotel, I saw a pretty bridge and a lovely trail alongside a river.  I said to my husband "Let go over there! I want a picture on that bridge."   So we parked our car at the hotel, then hiked 0.9 miles back to the trailhead.

The Gatlinburg Trail is the perfect trail for young families with strollers, the handicapped, the elderly, etc. for it is a flat, leisurely 1.9 mile trail (one way)  that runs alongside Little Pigeon River.  It starts at the edge of Gatlinburg, at the entrance to the park, and ends at the Sugarland Visitor Center.

This is such a peaceful, beautiful trail.  The perfect trail for a leisurely evening walk.  It is only one of two trails in the park where dogs and bicycles are permitted too.  So if you bring a dog to the Smokies with you, this is the trail for you!

While walking on this trail, we saw so many young families enjoying the shallow water for a swim.  This is the pretty pedestrian footbridge I saw from the car.  The trail also features foundations and chimneys of old homesites.  We only walked as far as the footbridge and turned around as we had to walk to the trailhead from our hotel, which already added 0.9 miles.

But I got my picture of me on the bridge, which is all I really wanted, so I was happy and content!

And the view of Little Pigeon River as seen from the bridge.

Every day we were in the Smokies we ate breakfast in our room.  We would have loved to have gone out to breakfast every morning, but they always opened up too late for us.  There is a Walgreens right on the main drag of Gatlinburg that was within walking distance from our hotel.  They had bagels, cream cheese, yogurts, fruit, etc. so we just bought a bunch of breakfast items and kept them in our hotel refrigerator for the week.

For lunch, we just had snack foods like power bars, nuts, granola, fruit, etc.

Because we could not stand the crowds, we always finished early in the day and were back at our hotel between 1:00-3:00 pm.  The first thing we did was change and enjoy the pool and hot tub.  After a refreshing soak we then went out and enjoyed an early dinner around 4:00 or 5:00 pm.

Our two favorite restaurants in Gatlinburg were Mellow Mushroom and Bones BBQ Joint.  They are both very casual dining places as we are not ones for fancy restaurants.

I know Mellow Mushroom is a chain, but we don't have these restaurants in Wisconsin so when we see one when we travel we always get super excited!  Every time we go to Mellow Mushroom we order the same thing:  a Greek Salad and a Great White Pizza!  Both items are absolutely AMAZING!

Bones BBQ gives you a lot of bang for your buck!  The prices are so reasonable and we loved the outside dining option.  It was the closest restaurant to our hotel too, so that made it very convenient.

Now I don't normally post pictures of myself in a swimming suit, but I really wanted you to see photos of our hotel pool because it was so cool!  Our hotel was nothing really special, we only picked it for the pool.  Most of the hotels in the area only had outdoor pools, and we really wanted a hotel with an inside pool because we knew we would be there when the weather was still cool and the outdoor pools wouldn't be open yet.  I was so happy I did this, because we enjoyed this pool and hot tub every single day!  It was so refreshing to soothe our aching muscles in the hot tub after hiking all day!

My favorite part about this pool was the natural sunlight.  They had skylights all above the pool area and I could literally lay in the sun INDOORS!  I loved it!  For those interested, we stayed at the Glenstone Lodge.  

And now, as promised, here are some short videos of the three stops on Little River Road.

 Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

April Bible Journaling Pages

Once a month I like to share my Bible Journaling Pages and what God has been teaching me.  In the month of April I finished the books of Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obediah, and started the book of Jonah.  Now before you think I read a lot, most of the book were minor prophets, so they were very short.    Sometimes I just color in the preprinted images of the "Inspire Bible" (available on Amazon) and I also create my own pages.
Unless otherwise stated, all the images are colored in with either gel pens or colored pencils.  I tend to color larger areas with pencils then get the more intricate spots with pens.  I high light my Bible with gel highlighters, and I usually use gelatos or  craft paint for my backgrounds.

In the month of April I finished the great book of Daniel, then I began the minor prophets.  On this page, Daniel is praying for his people.  He began his prayer with a praise of God.  I think all our prayers should always begin with praising God for who He is.

I listened to all of Jon Courson's sermons about the book of Daniel.  One of the many things Jon said was that Daniel's life is an example to all Christians to STUDY the word of God, PRAY, FAST, and REPENT.  I created this page showing Daniel's example of Godly living.  I cut all the arrows using a die and cutting machine, then I glued them on to the page.

This is the title page to the book of Hosea.  What a beautiful verse, and the perfect verse for the title page, as it is the theme of the book of Hosea.

Many images in the Inspire Bible are not Bible verses but characteristics of God or attributes we should have.  This image highlights the word "faith" as that is something God wants us all to have in Him.  In Chapter 4:1 God says against Israel "There is no faithfulness....of God in your land".  

Here is a page I created myself using digital images from Keys of the Kingdom.  
Hosea 6:3 encourages us to press on the know the our Bibles, pray, worship...and He will respond to us like spring rain.  Oh, what an image:  God refreshing us like spring rain.  Recently I've had a personal example of this.  Our area has been so dry lately.  The ground was as hard as cement, the rivers were very low, and although everything was living, nothing was thriving. Then, it finally rained and it's as if everything just sprang to LIFE!  Suddenly, everything greened up and grew, and grew.  God can do the same for us when we seek Him with our whole hearts.

I highlighted this entire verse.  I love the second part that says "Plow up the hard ground of your hearts".  Just like plowing a field is hard work, so is working on our hearts.  We can become hardened and jaded with time and we have to do the hard work of seeking God to have showers of righteousness in our lives again.

This pre-painted image is an attribute of God.  I was listening to a Jon Courson sermon and he said "God loves everyone as if He were the only one" so I added a heart on the page and hand wrote that sentiment in.

This verse encourages us to come back to God and to live lives of love, justice, and dependance on Him.

The book of Hosea is an illustration of God's love to a faithless people, but it can also be applied to all people today.  It is a plea to return to Him, confess our sin, renounce our dependance on other things, declare His greatness;  then growth, beauty, strength, value, delight, and abundance is restored to us.

This is the title page to the book of Joel.  This book, like many of the prophetic books, has two layers:  near and far fulfillment prophecies.  It speaks of the what will happen during the time period it was written, but also what will happen in "The Day of the Lord".

I created this "Day of the Lord" page myself.  I used dark colors to illustrate the "tremble in fear" part of the verse.

Here is another page I created myself using stickers, stamps, and wash tape.  The background was created with craft paint.  The numbers and pocket watch image were used to emphasize the urgency of time.  We never know when that trumpet will call.  Repent and turn to God now while you still have time.

The next two pages were created to emphasize some of my favorite verses about how God's spirit will be poured out on people at the end of the age.  I colored the backgrounds with craft paint, then I hand wrote the verses in.  The images are Sunday School Bible Coloring images I got off the Internet for free.  I simply colored them in, cut them out, and glued them to the pages.

The Inspire Bible has a lot of pages where there is just an image and no Bible verse (you will see an example of another two later in this post).  Here I decided to start using some of these images to write my own Bible verse on.  After I colored in the image, I then painted around it, and then hand wrote a Bible verse from the book of Joel.

The title page to the book of Amos.  I love this verse.  I am so tired of seeing all the injustices in our country today.  It seems to me one side gets away with everything and is so corrupt, and the other side is constantly persecuted and punished for everything and nothing.  The scales of lady justice are no longer even in our country today and her blindfold has been removed.  I never thought I would see this happen in my country.  We've become as corrupt as Banana Republic nations.  I pray everyday for God to intervene and expose all the injustice and do something.  My husband keeps telling me, "Oh, don't worry.  God says "Justice is mine" and He will deal with those people".  But I want to see justice now!  I've always struggled with wanting to see "fairness" my whole life.  Injustice is one issue that just drives me crazy.  But I know I have to be patient and God will make all the wrongs "right" again.  Someday soon He will return to rule and reign on this earth, and finally everything will be just and fair.

Here is another page I created myself.  I painted a nature background using craft paint then once again I went on the Internet and looked for coloring pages of two people walking together.  I printed the black and white images, colored them, cut them out, and glued them to the page.  Then I used stickers and my own hand-writing for the scripture verse.  I cut out a cloud using a die and a cutting machine then I hand wrote my thoughts about what this verse means to me.

This is a very important verse.  Let's be like Joseph in the book of Genesis (Genesis 29)  and "Do what is good and RUN from evil".  When Pharoah's wife wanted to sleep with him, he ran from her so fast he left his cloak behind.  We need to do the very same every time we are tempted to sin.

Here is an example of an page (as I explained earlier in this post) that just has an image and no Bible verse.  Here I simply colored it and did not handwrite a verse in.

The title page for the book of Obadiah.  I love how this title page is illustrated.  The Edomites lived in what is known at Petra today and they thought they could be protected from their enemies because of all the mountains surrounding them.  But,  God said they were proud and boastful because they put their faith in themselves and not the Lord.

Here is an example of another page where there was just an illustration and not a Bible verse.  After I colored it in, I hand wrote all my thoughts about the book of Obediah:  that it is a personal exhortation to all of us that we must not be prideful.

And finally, the title page to the book of Jonah.  I will finish this book next month.   I colored the page in blue to emphasize water.  What a great verse for this book and our own lives!  When Jonah was inside the whale and thought he was going to die, he called out to God and he heard Him.  If God can hear Jonah when he is deep inside a whale,   He can hear us!  When we are spiritually dead, we are in the land of the dead too.  But all we need to do is call to Him and He will answers us!

I hope you enjoyed looking at my Bible Journaling pages this month and that they ministered to you in some way.  

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Ageless Style - Double Duty

 Ageless Style is a monthly style challenge and link up for women "over a certain age".  Each month we pick a different theme and style an outfit based on that theme.

This month Daenel picked the theme, and she chose a fun one:  "Double Duty".  Daenel challenged us to "style one piece, two ways".  

I have this beautiful yellow embroidered top that I actually styled for a previous Ageless Style in this post:  "Spring Forward".    As much as I love this top, I don't get out much so I only wore it one time.  The last time I wore I styled it with black pants and I always wondered what it would look like with white pants.  Well, now I finally had my chance!

The top with the black pants looks more dressed up and elegant whereas the top with the white pants looks more casual and "beachy" relaxed.

Of course, the bag and shoes I chose to wear with each outfit made a huge difference.  The white bag is very bohemian whereas the coral bag is very structured.  The same with the bracelets:  the multi-strand beaded bracelet has a "beachy" feel whereas the glittery stone bracelet is more formal.

Ironically I chose to wear the same earrings in both outfits.  I just think these fun bamboo statement earrings go perfectly with this boho top.

The footwear is what really made the difference in both outfits.  For the white pants look I chose casual summer flats whereas with the black pants look I chose elegant black suede wedges.

I really love both looks, but I think I prefer the white pants over the black pants.  What do you think?  Which look is your favorite?

And now, be sure to check out what the rest of the ladies in the group are wearing and link up your outfits with us too!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Cammi ~ My Happy Place

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Carrie ~ A Simple Lovely Life

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Daenel ~ Living Outside the Stacks

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Jamie ~ No Delusions of Grandeur

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Jodie ~ Jodie’s Touch of Style 

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Leslie ~ Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After

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Mireille ~ Chez Mireille Fashion Travel Mom

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