Winter in the Great Smoky Mountains

Ice

We drove through the national park yesterday to see what winter did to the mountains. Beauty! Icy! Cold!

Pictures are behind the cut. Enjoy.

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Exploring with my explorer

We woke up to rain this morning, which means the boys will be bouncing off the walls by noon. While wishing for dry weather, I remembered that I had a slew of photos to post from the weekend.

One of the things that makes Jeremy fantastic is his love for nature and animals. I’d love to say that it’s because we’ve raised him that way, but that logic wouldn’t hold for Jackson. (He needs books and air conditioning, please.) No, Jeremy was just born with an innate appreciation for the outdoors, so when we spent Sunday afternoon in the mountains I grabbed him for some one-on-one time to see what we could see.

Sidebar: Chuck and I joined the Smart Phone Club again with very limited service to the interwebs, which was intentional. The best part about upgrading my cell phone from a 1985 model is having the ability to take amazing photos.

Here are a few shots I took at the river with my little soon-to-be-ten-year-old explorer.

Mushroom Ring This big Azure Little fungi Grub Nature boy Shells Where the fairies live

City Boy in the Country

This is the beginning of a kid swap with my sister. She took Jeremy for a week while I have Jacob. (Owen and Jackson will get a turn next time.)

On our first full day of having my 12-year-old nephew here with us, we took advantage of good weather and drove to the mountains. I wanted Jacob to put his feet in the river. While Jeremy is enjoying city life in Chicago, I’m giving Jacob a peek inside country living.

Me: “We’re going to the river!”

Jacob: “Okay. Is it dirty?”

For the record, he loved it.

A good view iPod photo opp Get in the river He loves it Clear water Swimming with Jack Really loving it

Field Trip to the Little River

Yesterday morning was so beautiful that I made the executive decision to scrap sit-down book work and make a mad dash for the mountains. It didn’t take much to convince the boys. It meant shifting school to the afternoon, but it’s this kind of freedom that I love about homeschooling.

The following is a major photo dump of our morning in the Great Smoky Mountains. All but one are behind the cut. Enjoy, and Happy Weekend to you.

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Home to Autumn

After a week in warm, sunny Florida, it was really nice to come home to autumn. East Tennessee is beautiful right now, so we decided to go for a drive through Cades Cove yesterday to see the fall colors.

(This first video is for Michele.)

[Song credit: The Decemberists, “January Hymn”]

Driving the scenic loop around Cades Cove gave us an opportunity to see animals like deer and wild turkeys, and the stable horses getting their exercise.

 

On our way home Chuck remarked that thousands of people have to drive hundreds of miles to come here, but not us. The Great Smoky Mountains are only 20 minutes away from our house. It’s a little dream come true.

Like Florida on our last night of vacation, Tennessee gave us a colorful “goodnight” on the way home.

Exploring Tennessee in Pictures

Burwell Building, Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville/By Corey Seaton

Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park/By Kara Ziler

I’ve spent more time than I should browsing photos of east Tennessee online. It seems ridiculous since I’ve lived more years in Tennessee (between two cities) than anywhere else and have plenty of my own pictures to peruse. What can I say? I’m excited, and it all started on Flickr and carried on to photo contests and other random sites I found online. (I found the above photos on this site.) I’ve been studying maps, finding Greenways and hiking trails, and planning one weekend excursion after another.

One thing is for sure: I doubt we will run out of places to explore.