Eternity Bus at Great Smokey Mountain National Park
*Be warned this post has a lot of pictures- taking pictures of my family in nature is like my favorite thing to do.
-Tuesday we woke up, got going and spent the day hiking in the Smokey's. We decided to skip the highly populated, popular, busy trails. Unfortunately that meant not hiking up to Laurel Falls this time. Too busy. Even more unfortunately, Clingman's Dome was still closed for the winter, and I had really wanted to go there again! Clingman's Dome is one of my favorite places on Earth. We missed it by only a week! Luckily we found several road-side pull off trail heads called Quiet Walkways to go hiking on. We loved hiking them!
Overall we hiked about 4 miles of fairly easy, back woods trails, with natural mountain creeks and plenty of creek crossings.
This crossing was especially fun, although not as dangerous as it looked because there was a row of rocks behind the fallen tree you can't see. But it made for a good picture :)
Jenna loved the creek-crossing!! We all did! We probably crossed a dozen or more creeks.
At the top of one mountain we found a family cemetery from the late 1700s to current. It was puzzling to figure out how they actually get the caskets up the mountain to the cemetery. But what an incredible view they have for their final resting place.
We skipped rocks at a mountain stream.
We had a little picnic lunch at a trail head before heading out to hike some more. All in all we probably crossed maybe a dozen people all day- one older couple in particular that seemed to be interested in all the same spots as us. It was beautiful weather for hiking- not too hot or too cool. We had a perfect day.
Around 4pm we decided to head back to camp and start our hobo dinners over the fire. Our puppy, Chase, had been in his kennel for the first time all day so we wanted to get back to let him out for a bathroom break too. Dogs are only allowed on 2 trails in the GSMNP- the Gatlinburg Trail was one of them. That's a pretty nice and super easy, level trail, but it was too populated so we decided to skip it for the more backwoods trails. That meant Chase spent the day in the bus in his kennel. We put a camera on him (yes we're those people!) and took off for the day. Most RV parks will let you bring a dog, but nuisance barking is not allowed so we were a little uneasy about how he'd do. It turned out he was perfectly behaved all day!!
We all took showers in the really nice shower house that evening, then went bike riding around camp until dark while our dinners cooked over the fire. It was really a pretty fantastically perfect day!
Now for my first campground review!
We loved Greenbrier Campground. The facilities were all so nice and clean!! They had a practically new shower house that we were lucky enough to be right across the lane from. There were tons of mature trees so it really felt like camping in the woods. We especially loved the awesome creek to skip stones or go wading in that surrounds the entire camp. If it hadn't been for covid the kids would've really enjoyed the playground area too, but there were too many kids there. Very kid friendly, the traffic is nice and slow because there are kids on bikes everywhere. My kids rode around for hours. Best of all, Greenbrier is one of the closest campgrounds to the Smokey Mountain Greenbrier entrance. It's just a short jog through Gatlinburg and you're in. Of course, some would rather stay inside the Smokey Mountain Park itself. We certainly wanted to. Unfortunately they don't allow pets anywhere in the campgrounds that are inside the actual park. And there are not utilities available- no water and no electric. Being that it was still chilly at night we needed electric. We could've run off our generator, but there are quiet hours from like 10pm-8am which means we would've been really cold all night. Greenbrier was a perfect spot for us. We will definitely be returning to Greenbrier Campground- 5 stars for sure!!