Last Tuesday, after our visit to the Titanic Museum, and the Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Pigeon Forge, TN, we pulled into the Cumberland Gap National Park!We try not to pull into campground in the dark, but this time we did, and easily found a lovely site! The park has one campground, and it is treed with big (some little of course) site, but not all are level – for many, they just slapped down pavement or gravel over the terrain of the land! LOL!
While we were in the park for 3 nights, we did a few things, but really, not many because our tribe was getting this nasty sickness – Vaughn was down for the entire time we were in Cumberland, with various kids joining him: Emma, Jake, and Beth.
The healthy kids and I did go get Jr. Ranger books at the visitor’s center…where they have a small area for kids that includes a few toys like a soldiers set and period correct dress up clothes.
There are also 2 films about the park, and a museum…
The rangers were super nice here, and gave us the inside scoop on what hikes would be best for the kids and I to take. We climbed the short hike to the Pinnacle (most of the mountain is scaled in your vehicle – the road states nothing over 20 feet long; we took the 15 passenger van. I don’t know how long it is, but it was plenty long going around some of those hairpin turns! LOL! Spring is coming to the area – there were a few flowers out… And up on the pinnacle is a cannon (and an explanation plaque) to remind us that this was used as a lookout during the Civil War…
We then walked the Gap trail – when we got to the gap, we decided that it was a lame walk (for us 😉 )… but not a lame walk for Jake who carried Molly almost the entire way; he said it was a good workout (our boys need physical activity, no screen time here! LOL!). since we decided that it wasn’t much of a challenge, we then continued on and did the 3 States hike which is 2.4 miles in and back, with lots of grades and some switchbacks.
Everyone made it to the peak except for Peanut, Joel, and me; we stopped just before the last switchback, but if I had known how close we were, I wouldn’t have let them quit!
On the way up and the way back down, we passed this little frog pond. There were several loud frogs, but they would be silent before we got anywhere near the pond, and we couldn’t find them no matter how hard we looked!The area is very wet, and there is beautiful moss growing all over – makes everything such a lovely green (my fav color)… While we were in the Cumberland Gap National Park, Thomas, Daniel, and Joel did the Jr. Ranger program. Emma was down for the count the entire time, and the other little girls didn’t want to if Emma wasn’t.
We spent most of our time at the campground just hanging out hoping that not everyone would get sick, and that those that were would heal quickly.
The campground has a dump station and fresh water, and some of the sites have electricity, which we really appreciated for the sickies!
We made several campfires, and roasted hot dogs (which we never do anymore because they are so very bad for us), and made Mexican Smores. The kids loved to chop up the down-dead they found, machetes are much more fun than saws 😉 … Our site was wonderful – for the first time in a long time, we felt like we were camping (with electricity, and a big rig, we think it’s cheating, but that’s as close as we get anymore) LOL!
Cumberland Gap National Park was a lovely place, but we would like to return when we are all healthy and can get out and enjoy it together.
We were going to stay though the weekend, but our visit was cut short on Friday. We had paid for our site for Friday night, but then we read onine that Samaritan’s Purse was responding to a tornado in Mississippi that had happened the day before. Vaughn and I talked about it for less than 5 minutes, asked the kids if they wanted to go (resounding, immediate yes), packed up, and were on the road late Friday afternoon; we stopped for the night at one of the Cracker Barrels in Chattanooga, TN. On our way to a new, unplanned adventure! It’s a little bit of a detour from our planned route back home to Montana through northern Illinois, but it worked for us!
While this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, we sure love it!!! 😀