Monday, August 9, 2010


This summer, marked the first time my family has taken a vacation together in several years. Because my father is self-employed, taking time off isn't built into the schedule. His heavy workload, translates into fewer summer vacations as a family.
In fact, the original trip we had planned this summer fell through for financial reasons.

When they discovered that we were going to forgo a family vacation again, my paternal grandparents generously offered us week away via their time share. This permitted us to pick from several different locations. My parents decided upon Pigeon Forge Tennessee. It was a good choice.
With an abundance of shops, activities, tourist traps and the Smoky mountains just a few minutes south, it makes for a very enjoyable vacation spot (I should write travel brochures).

I love the mountains more than any other place on earth. The beach is nice I suppose, but too sandy. Nothing compares with the splendor of a mountain range. So my favorite parts of the trip all involved interacting with nature.

The tourist district of Pigeon Forge reminds me of the beaches I've been to. Virtually every tourist trap is concentrated into one sweltering, lively stretch of road; teeming with middle class white people who are taking their one vacation of the year. All the restaurants, rides, shops and shows you could ever hope to loose money in are there for the pleasure of the masses.

Of course being the sort of person that I am, the only place I was interested in going to was the Discount 'Book Warehouse" I saw when we took a run for groceries.

The idea of losing money to a bunch of overpriced thrill rides and consuming food with copious amounts of sugar and fat doesn't appeal to me very much (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a boring prude).
In any event I bought a couple of books. One by Don Miller called: 'Through Painted Deserts,' about a road trip from Texas to Oregon. Along with another book titled: 'Not For Sale,' which talks about modern slavery.
I'd read the Don Miller book by the end of the week.

The first big adventure my family and I embarked on was to a place called Cades Cove, a small valley tucked away in the heat of the Appalachian mountain range. It was gorgeous. The road takes an eleven mile loop around the outside of the valley, passing through historical sites. Because my parents are great people they dropped me off at the front gate and let me take a trail by myself. So I took of my shirt, shoved it in my belt and started jogging through the woods on my own little exploration.

There is no sensation quite like running through the woods without a care in the world. I feel my lungs expanding and contracting, my heart sending blood pounding through my head and the ground passing underneath me, as my feet glide over the earth. I inhale and smile as I push myself to the limit ascending a hill then suck in the clean mountain air as I recover on the descent.
There is no charge for this thrill ride. As the great missionary Eric Liddell put it: "When I run, I feel God's joy."

My exploration came to an abrupt halt when I encountered a black bear. What I didn't realize at the time, was that the black bears in the area are quite accustomed to tourists. My first thought was, 'Well, this could be bad.' I stood there wondering what the preferred method for dealing with a irritated black bear was and thinking about what a great story it would make if I survived.
Completely disinterested in my desire to become a hero, the bear lumbered off. And because I'm an intelligent human being, I wasted no time in moving quickly in the opposite direction (although I didn't turn my back on the creature until I was a ways down the path).

This seems like a reasonable place to leave off writing, so I'll conclude there for now.
I don't have any pictures from Cades Cove, we forgot the camera, sorry. I'v posted a few others however. Captions are along the bottom.

Inside our rather humble Condo.

A shot from outside the condo.

My vibram Five Fingers. Absolute best shoes on the planet.

My family (Minus mom, who is taking the shot). From left to Right. Me, Ian, Dad and Noah. For some reason Noah insists on scowling in every photo he's asked to take unless the idea was his. I think it has something to do with the fact that he's a fourteen year old boy who wants to do everything his own way.

Can you tell this picture was Noah's idea = )?

Thanks for reading!



  1. I'm so glad you were able to go on a vacation, and it sounds like you had a wonderful time away :)! And yes, the bear is an awesome story XD.

  2. Yes, discount bookstores for the win!

    Yeah, and what Elizabeth said.

  3. Haha, thanks guys. I think it would have a better story though if I'd been mauled and then gotten away. I could claim I got the scars saving a basket of kittens (and maybe a baby for good measure) from a raging inferno.

  4. LOL. Adding the baby is a good idea. Or (creative idea about to strike!) you could say you got mauled by a bear. Either way :D.