Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Road Trip to Smoky Mountains - Part 1


May  month showered a lot of travelling to me. It continues in June as well. A road trip to Smoky mountains was in our mind for more than a month. The execution of the plan was delayed. We got a loaner vehicle from Ford since the registration plates of our car was delayed. The happy news was that   Ford gave us a brand new explorer, a 8 seater until we had our plates in place.
 A perfect vehicle for a long trip. 

The travel bums meet was held on the same evening. We started planning the skeleton of our itinerary (a perfect plan never works for us).We did the major To-Do’s like booking the cabin house and scheduling our rafting. The rest could still be done later, so we let it be. Last minute planning, hustle-bustle started. We packaged our luggage, listed out the Indian groceries to carry from our places for cooking (nothing like Indian food i always say) and did some shopping for the same. Since it was a 3 day plan, we had so much luggage from 6 people and that was not problem at all for a spacious car like Explorer to hold.
On June 5Th, evening around 6 PM- myself, my husband along with 4 other friends were ready to  scoot to our dream place.

The drive from Jersey city to Pigeon Forge,Tennessee  is little under 12 hours. That’s what our beloved GPS showed and we trusted it as usual. We drove with so much fun, music and chit-chats in the car. Since there were 5 drivers among 6 (Except me) driving was not tedious at all. We had stops after every few hours, exchanged drivers when  required, did complete justice to our bellies by eating varied meals and snacks.

At morning 8 AM the next day, after crossing 6 states, as we entered Pigeon Forge, the mermaid on the Starbucks greeted us. Early morning freshness after a foggy drive got better after sipping a white chocolate mocha. We stopped near one of the rest areas to fresh up and change our dress for our first event of the day.

We had scheduled our rafting at 12:20. After we tried our first rafting trip in Pitts burg at Grade 1 and 2(mild), this time we had decided to opt for the next Grade,  3 and 4(wild). 

(P.S Definitions:

Grade 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill level: very basic)

Grade 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skill level: basic paddling skill)

Grade 3: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering.

Grade 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed.)


 We had limited options for food as we arrived the outdoors at the white waters rafting. The fried chicken of unbearable taste had to be simply swallowed to fill our gut. After all, we had to sustain some energy for the next few hours on flowing water.So less yelling and just eating was the only way out.



The announcement for the 12:20 session was made. We were introduced to our rafting guide Mr.Elvin. Wearing our safety jackets, yellow helmets shining on our heads, paddles in one hand we jumped into the bus which was supposed to take us to the rafting spot. The bus went up hill for about 10 mins roughly and there we were dropped for some fun in the sun. We pulled our inflatable raft that would carry us for the rest of the journey, listenend carefully to the instructor, high- fived in air and took our first step into the raft boats to rock the rapids.
                                                       Image src:google

Smoky Mountain Rafting is conveniently located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, on the Pigeon River. Smoky Mountain Outdoors is a quick drive from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and offers breathtaking scenery with exciting whitewater rafting thrills for the whole water journey of a lifetime. There's nothing quite as exhilarating as a ride on an untamed river. The 'Big Pigeon River' gushes near Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Cherokee National Forest.There's no view of the mountains like that from the seat of a bouncing raft in whitewater. The guides are the most experienced and highly trained. They are super awesome and friendly people. Thanks to sun for being milder this time unlike my first raft, where I was nearly burnt and charred.

We got wet and wild, hit the rocks, bounced back, bumped the other rafts and had loads of fun. Elvin told the names of each rapid we were crossing and splashing. Some were mild  while some were  real adventure. Aah! the rapids had some very interesting names

Like..

 "Too Late," "Vegamatic," "Razor Blade," "After Shave," and "Lost Guide.",”Ducklings” and so on..

Which ever rapid we hit we paddled across like experts.






 Elvin also showed us the right spots in the river to swim. Diving in white waters, watching the pristine blue sky as the clouds raced and lush green trees was a breathtaking experience. The swim was short,refreshing and energized us.

The upper portion of the Pigeon River is for the adventurous, and the lower section is more of a relaxed float trip. Close to some to the rapids we posed for the photos that were click by the club members.

We had worked like a perfect team to pack memories of the trip on river.We cleaned the raft, hugged  and bid bye to Elvin.

Our bodies were exhausted while our mind had just recovered from the adrenaline rush of adventure. We decided to go to our cabin house and get some rest before we began with the next activity on our list.

Foooood... , every cell of us screamed . Rafting for hours was quite a calorie burning activity you see.

Relaxing and unwinding from tiredness, we had our delayed and elaborate Italian lunch at the Olive Greens restaurant (they are my favourite *wink*).

As we drove towards the smokey mountains, we picked up some red wine for girls, whisky for guys and chicken from walmart for all of us. The scenic beauty all along the drive mesmerised us and turned us speechless.

At the lovely log Cabin house :

 The Cabin house was everything we expected plus some. The location was convenient to go to downtown Gatlinburg but away from the hustle and bustle of mainstream tourism. The cabin was very clean and well maintained, furnished with everything you will need just like at home. Just bring your clothes and food, if you want to cook, kick back and relax on the front porch, deck or in the hot tub.The upstairs loft had a pool table and games for family fun. Isn’t that  a nice getaway?

The pictures speak better:)





























The men in the troop decided to cook for the night while the ladies were free to relax for the rest of the day. Relief from the routine cooking.

After we got fresh and dressed for the cabin party, all of us  assembled at the living room for our evening tea .

while the drink and dinning preparations were going on, I sparng out with my  camera to click some pictures.I had never been in such a beautiful stay before.Swirling blue haze, which gave the mountains their name, and it was easy to understand why people flock there.I knew  no place in the world quite like that. 

The balcony of the cabin overlooking the mountains where green of the tall trees met the blue of the clear sky and white in the fog blended to the hues in perfect proportion to make it a picturesque. It was as if a painting coming to life. A swing was a luxury to sip some ginger tea and sink in some silence. Watching the sunset was like getting hypnotised. Sun had cast his magic spell  and I surrender spellbound like everytime. I went on capturing his hues at every angle in my camera.

On top on the hill, deep in  the woods, with  best buddies and  tasting Chilli chicken prepared my sweet husband, sipping some red wine, watching the night sky, the bright and the heavy moon, chit chat sessions and Pink Floyd’s music . Aah I bet, I felt like a queen.

We wrapped up the Day 1 at the adventure Lodge . High with food, drink, dance and  laughter.

But...

We were in a forest which  habitated largest number of bears in the world.2 bears every square mile. Did we see any of them around? Fear of bear..........

Fun continues.... for next episode, read here.


7 comments:

  1. Super.

    suggestion : try to use different font when u are sharing information about a place/something.

    "On top on the hill, deep in the woods, with best buddies and tasting Chilli chicken prepared my sweet husband, sipping some red wine, watching the night sky, the bright and the heavy moon, chit chat sessions and Pink Floyd’s music . Aah I bet, I felt like a queen.:"

    what a dream come true,

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  2. Excellent work Rashmi. Sure you have put lot of efforts to come up with this narration.

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  3. Sounds like a fun trip Rashmi... we are hoping to visit Smoky mountains next month too... it's a 3 hour drive from home :-)
    Cheers, Archana - www.drishti.co

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    1. I bet, it's loads of fun. I am sure you will enjoy too. Thanks for reading Archana:)

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  4. I love road trips..esp long ones...

    http://www.ananyatales.com/2015/06/tunic.html

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  5. Hey Ananya. They are absolute fun.:)

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A word with me! Thanks for dropping by:)