Elkmont is a GREAT campground. There were people who I never saw leave their site, there were people who biked or walked all over the loops and people who played in the creek. One family was camping with their cat! We saw 20 different dogs, all better behaved than Nia and Murphy, one was a full sized obese bulldog sitting happily in a milk crate strapped to the back of a really pretty purple 10 speed. The girl peddaling had a really hard time getting up any slopes, though. I imagine he was quite a load!

But the best thing there in my opinion was the plethora of hiking trails. You would have to stay a long time to run out of options for where to hike and the prettiest trail (that I have seen so far!) is the Little River Trail.

It follows the river, which is what I would call a stream, for 2.4 miles and even with the water so low, there were swimming holes scattered along the way. We took half the day to get 2 of those miles in. It was so nice to not be in a hurry!


Headed over to meet the group after a yummy breakfast of hot oatmeal and tea.

Before we left, I made hiker balls!
I toss various dried fruits and one type of nut into the food processor with some molasses and/or honey.
I roll the sticky mass into bite-sized balls and roll those in something to keep them from being sticky.
This time it was cashew, dates, pineapple, mango and cranberry with molasses rolled in
hemp, chia, sunflower and a little raw cane sugar.
So good, so full of fiber and protein!


Chan had her hair done while we waited on everyone


Not a morning person.


This is interesting-Kurt wears a harness and so does Inde. They clip together at his shoulders and she stands on a lightweight metal bar. Her weight is against his back and evenly distributed.
Plus, she's taller than everyone else.


There is the terrifying cheese-conversation eavesdropping house!
I actually think we were talking about why the fireflies might be synchronizing, we had many theories. None were what the scientists think.


The mountain laurel were amazing, draped over the trails and along the water, millions of tiny bells!


It's been a while since I have hiked with a bunch of people!


another swimming hole!


At this point, most of the party turned back to do something other than hike. The rest headed back a bit later and Matt, Kurt, Ben, Emma, Alex and I continued on.
About 10 feet where we stopped again to play in the creek.


So glad I have this thing!


This was at a little bridge, above and below, looks like a GREAT swimming hole!

We finished the 2.4 mile Little River Trail and headed back on the Cucumber Gap Trail, another 2.4 miler that ended up above the Wonderland community.


The kids and Kurt decided to run back to camp, about 3 miles away.
Have at it! hahaha

 

On the way down to camp, we strolled along the road slowly so we could see the old houses.


Even though there are signs all over and warnings not to go into the houses or trespass onto the grounds, people wandered through them like they were at the Parade of Homes. This woman had 2 younger kids along!


Can you imagine how much fun it must have been to stay here all summer? Neighbors and friends, BEAUTUFUL area, Gatlinburg just 10 miles away, a 13 mile hike would get you to the top of Clingman's Dome! The Appalachian Trail runs nearby. As long as you liked trees and trails and creeks, you'd never run out of things to do!


I have to wonder if somewhere some family is gloating that their house has not caved in yet.


When we FINALLY dragged in to the camp, I crashed in the hammock for a few minutes. The kids smelled our return and came back over to our camp yammering for fooooood.
They snacked up and we went to play in the creek again.


Getting some of my stamina back!


Ben and Emma are making a small cairn out of only orange and white stones
Those two are so agreeable and love to tinker and try stuff.


this guy was watching us!


Hello children! Are you behaving?

 


Ben and Emma built more cairns

 

Cold and tired, it was time for dinner!
We had mac and cheese with seaweed and tuna.


see. weed.


Table is sad Table can not eat. :(

twisty macaroni is the bestest.


Ben, in withdrawal from being too far from Alex, Emma and Owen

 

We headed to Katy's for another campfire-this time with s'mores!


toasted coconut and chocolate stripe marshmallows.


Sarah Does Not Share Jiffy Pop

 

Afterward, we headed back out to see the fireflies again. This time we sat on the side of the road going to the parking area at Wonderland.
The kids sang 'Fireflies' among other selections and we hung out until the moon was high enough to make it too bright to see them very well.

We went back to our campsite and got ready for bed. Around 3, I woke up to run out and get Chan (in the hammock) and our shoes! Lightening! Ack!
No, just more fireflies. I felt silly, then happy. They came to say hello!

MONDAY