Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gatlinburg, TN - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nice relaxing day today. Has vacation finally kicked in? Slept until 9:30 am. Beautiful day again, about 59 degrees, cloudy. No rain.

Bob got up and ran nine miles through Gatlinburg and part way on the Sugarlands Visitors Center Trail. I went online, read magazines, ate breakfast.

After Bob got back and got ready to go out, he told me he had planned the day. We drove through Gatlinburg on a side street next to a creek, then parked at the Gatlinburg end of the Gatlinburg to Sugarlands Trail. We walked 2 miles on the riverside trail to the Visitors Center. 

Idyllic trail along the river.

I got to go through the museum at my leisure. So interesting to learn all about the local flora and fauna.

Salamanders win for being the most diverse fauna species in the park. The hellbender salamander can grow to 2 feet long! Wow. There are also pygmy salamanders which are about 1" to 1-1/2" long. Tree-climbing foxes, mink, elk, bobcats and flying squirrels also live in the park, but are not frequently seen.

In the flora department, I was surprised to learn that a few types of orchids grow in the park. Another surprising fact is that deer, birds and some other animals eat the berries off poison oak. I then overheard a mother telling her family it's ok to eat poison oak berries because the animals eat them. I don't think I'd be eating poison oak berries. 

For a long time I've been wanting to buy a National Park (NP) Passport, a book in which you get stamps and stickers from each National Park, National Recreation Area, National Battlefield, etc. Today I bought a NP Passport in the gift store. Then I went to the ranger and got my first stamp in the book at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sugarlands Visitor Center. The beginning of a new hobby starts now--visiting all the national parks, monuments, etc., to collect stamps and see all that our country has to offer.

From the Visitor Center, we walked back to Gatlinburg on the trail, then had supper at Bennett's BBQ restaurant. I had BBQ beef brisket, corn muffin, coleslaw (outstanding) and green beans (way overcooked). Bob ate hickory-smoked BBQ chicken, BBQ beans (yummy), and potato salad.

After dinner we walked downtown Gatlinburg to look at all the tourist attractions. Notice I said "look," not "do." The crowds had left after the weekend, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. We bought some postcards, a souvenir, and then went back to the timeshare. 

Gatlinburg, TN at dusk.
Touristy Gatlinburg--evening lights coming on.
We are now eating Great Smoky Mountains National Park Extra Rich Milk Chocolate and drinking Biltmore Limited Release Chenin Blanc...a great combination. We both highly recommend it. LOL.

Tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be VERY rainy. Time to do museums and car tours.

Tomorrow, our plan is set. Up at 6:00 am, eat oranges, buckwheat pancakes and fried eggs, then drive to Oak Ridge, TN, the home of the "World War II Manhattan Project." First will be a tour of the museum to learn about the production of the first atomic bomb and invention of the nuclear reactor. We will go the Convention and Visitor Center to pick up a copy of a 38-mile Oak Ridge Self-Guided Motor Tour, then drive the tour.

After we finish at Oak Ridge, we plan a drive to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park to see the visitor center and learn some more history. Then we will drive back to Gatlinburg. A long day of history is the plan!

Travel Bug out.

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