Cade's Cove is an isolated valley in the Great Smoky Mountain (and now a national park). The first settlers were Europeans in the early 1800's and many of their original buildings are now preserved just as they were back then. Cade's Cove has an 11 mile, one way road that you can slowly drive on to not only tour different cabins, churches & mills but also see some awesome landscape and wildlife.
We headed out the morning of August 6 thinking we'll spend maybe 3 hours or so there. Ha, over 9 hours later, this is just a glimpse of our day there!
(click on photos to enlarge)
As we walked back a trail, we were amazed to see a young buck & doe together who didn't even startle by our presence. As we continued along, they meandered out on the trail about 8 feet in front of us, so cool!!! (these are just a few of the many pics I took of them)
One of the many hikes we went on.
Such amazing history in these churches. We sat through a 20 minute presentation by a park ranger that was chock full of amazing info!!!
He explained how this church was built using green pines which are impressionable by hand literally until they dry out. This picture is a photo of the ceiling where you can easily see imprints of hands of both grown men & boys he said since the wood was still soft & wet when they built it. (& this goes back to the 1800's wow!)
Oh how my mama's heart hurt as I walked through many graveyards on this trip. What really caught my eye were the many stillborn graves I saw as well as grave of little ones who lived just a few months. I was SO thankful to see that despite the times, these precious lives were acknowledged & remembered!! For example, check out the graves above. I hadn't noticed right away until I studied them. Here was a set of twin sisters Lura Louella & Lora Estella born together in 1911 but sadly Lora was stillborn. Get this, her sister Lura lived into her 90's and when she died, she was brought back and buried next to her infant sister in 2004!!!!! Both their headstones have a lamb on top.
I actually have many other pics I took of infant and toddler headstones. My heart ached when I saw a family that had buried 3 sons within 3 years. So unfair. How I would've loved to learn more of their story.
Yikes, murdered by the rebels!!!!
As we hiked back from seeing the above cabin, some of the kids were in front of us. All of a sudden, we heard them screaming as they came running towards us. A snake had gone across the trail in front of them and they almost stepped on it. We reminded them not yell or run like that when seeing wildlife. Not more than a few minutes after that, Susan and her friend were up ahead of the group on a small hill. We were almost at the end of the trail and back to our vehicles. All of a sudden they stopped dead in their tracks and turned around, eyes wide as they pointed & whispered "bear"!!! We were like WHAT?!?! (ok so we didn't yell it but felt a sense of panic for sure). We gathered everyone close while someone from the group went up the hill to take a look. It was a black bear cub which means where there is a baby, there is a mama. Double yikes!! Of course there was brush on either side of the trail so we knew mama could come out of anywhere. The cub scampered off before anyone could get a picture and we cautiously made our way out to the road. 2 people from our group hadn't gone on this hike so when we came out & told them how we just saw a cub, they said they noticed people were stopping on the road near us and were taking pictures of what we assume was the mama to the bear cub, eek!! Crazy how close we were! It sure made for a memorable experience. I am just thankful we were all kept safe!
And then there was the hike to Abram's Falls. It'll be fun we thought. HA!!! So we start off, ok, not bad. Then we get further down the trail, lots of rocks and then it gets narrow. Not a big deal, unless said trail is only 3 feet wide, rocky AND on the side of a mountain with a steep drop and no safety rails. Ugh, talk about feeling super anxious as we continued on. And this trail went on and on and on. We finally get there and we looked at the falls and said we went through all that for THIS?!?! The falls were only about 35 feet high and there really was not much else to see in the area. The kids waded around in the water for a bit (did I add it was HOT to the list?!) We didn't stay too long as we were all hot & tired and knew the hike we were facing to get back to our cars.
I had hiked with Ava in the moby wrap on me, thankfully she slept on the way there, woke up to nurse once we were there and fell back asleep on the hike back. On the way back, Olivia was tired and didn't want anyone to hold her besides me. Rather than listen to her whine for the 2 1/2 miles back, I carried her in addition to having Ava strapped to me! Yeah I got my exercise that day!! The kids had said they wished we had music to as we hiked out of there, so I pulled up on my phone, my playlist I use for running and blasted music. Ya know, we made the hike out 12 minutes faster than it took us to get in. And that was with me carrying two kids and all of us being tired so that music really helped!
All in all, it was a memorable day spent with great friends!!!