Jackson and I both have October birthdays, so we started an unintentional tradition of taking a long weekend trip to celebrate each other. This year, after being out of Colorado for a few months, I was craving my mountain fix. So we packed our bags and took off for a cabin in the Smokey Mountains.
Jackson loves to spoil me, and he always goes above and beyond when he celebrates me. So he worked hard to plan the perfect weekend getaway for us! We stayed in an AirBnb that was on a lake so we could kayak, but we took every opportunity we could to get into the mountains.
I loved this trip so much, I want to go back to the smokies every fall. The weather was amazing, it was warm enough, but there was also a breeze and it was perfect weather to be in hiking boots + a Patagonia. It was the most picturesque fall scenery I have ever found myself in. The fall colors were vivid and crisp, the leaves were still on the trees but had changed from green to scarlet, yellow, and orange. When the wind blew, the trees shook and trembled, shaking off a few leaves and letting the colors swirl around us to the ground.
I am a lover of wildlife, I like to feel far enough away from civilization that I am a little bit afraid. When hiking, I want to feel wild, removed, away from cell-service and lost in God's creation. I feel alive when we run into wildlife, and on this trip, I wasn't disappointed. In Colorado, our hikes were regularly interrupted by moose, but I had never seen a bear in the wild until this trip.
We ran into a mother and her cubs when we were hiking around Cade's Cove, and then later again, we were able to park our car and get some photos of her. Of course, we wanted to stay a safe distance away, and of course, Jackson was freaking out and wanting me to be farther away. I, however, am convinced the mama bear and I became friends during this little photo shoot, and I'm pretty sure she posed for me.
We enjoyed hiking around the national park casually and picnicking in the mountains for a few days, but on our last day we chose a more intense hike. On All Trails, it is called "Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte." We chose it to make sure we got in a good workout, and to get some of the best and tallest views in the Smokies.
The hike included views of the Alum cave, crossing over a couple of streams, lots of gorgeous fall colors, and of course, the rewarding views from the top! Even with my experience hiking in Colorado to the tops of many 14ers, this hike was challenging and it didn't disappoint!
I can't wait to go back to this national park. I loved driving through the mountains, watching the colors from our window, getting outside in the crisp fall air, spotting wildlife, and seeing a new region of the country from great heights.