As we are getting ready to write about Tim’s birthday this year we realized our very first blog post was Tim’s birthday last year. Oddly enough there are similarities — we hiked in the overcast November weather both years, 2009 in the Olympic National Park and 2010 in the Smoky Mountain National Park. So, here goes, a year later…
First, we celebrated with family. On Halloween night we had a cookout at Badgett and busted out the large charcoal grill. We had turkey burgers, sweet potatoes, and chocolate cake to celebrate Tim while his parents were still in town from Seattle. We also played a round of horseshoes and croquet and drank pumpkin beer.
For Tim’s actual birthday, well, here I’ll let him tell it:
Ash and I packed up the car for an early start and with a quick stop at Starbucks we hit the road. And what a road it was. I’m used to quaint little mountain towns as you get closer to National Parks, with maybe a few rental shops and a burger joint. Ha!
For you Northwesterners, imagine Enumclaw or Black Diamond in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. Now Now take a little Wildwaves, Ocean Shores, add some outlet stores, and a dash of the Puyallup Fair. Mix them all and bake at 350, then frost with Dolly Parton fans, men in leisure suits, sprinkle with NASCAR shirts, and lots of big hair – this is the delicious treat of Gaitlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN.
“The Redneck Riviera”* is contrasted as soon as you cross the border into the Park – Trees! Natural (and beautiful) colors! Birds! Peace! Great Smoky Mountain National Park is so calming and beautiful, especially this time of the year. Our hike up Mt. LeConte (one of the highest points in the park at 6593′) was capped with great views across the valley to see ridge after ridge of hills, each hazed a little darker in the seemingly ever-present fog that gives the Smokies their name.
Things started getting fishy when we got back to the car and my normally easygoing wife wouldn’t let me change into my post hike loungewear, insisting I stay in my smelly hiking clothes. A surprise left turn a few miles outside the park revealed her reasoning. She had secretly packed another bag with overnight clothes for a stay at the Buckhorn Inn (thanks Joe and Dorcas for the gift!) We showered and changed and enjoyed good food, good wine, and the sound of rain on our little cottage room in the woods.
And there you have it -the best birthday yet. (Although my Batman/Superman party in 1989 was pretty memorable as well.)
Thanks everybody for a wonderful birthday week! The Lord was been so good this past year, and I feel so blessed by Him with great friends and family.
*Name coined my my Father-in-law