Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pigeon Forge, TN: Week 1, Part 2

Two posts to describe one week?  Yup… it was that full of activity!

Wednesday morning started off with school and a great surprise treat from our new neighbor---FREE tickets to Dollywood!  Wahooooooo!!!  (Turns out, most of the residents of our new “subdivision” work at Dollywood.  They are known as work campers.)
FREE tickets---Yay!!!

Our new friend said to go at 3:00 on Wednesday and then we’d also get Friday free!  Yes, that’s right…. 1 ½ days at my favoritest amusement park!  FREE!  The days had warmed back up and we got to spend the day enjoying DW and wonderful, warm sunshine.  The warmth was such a treat because 5 years ago during our last trip to DW, we FROZE!  The high was in the low 40’s, windy… and all we Floridans had to wear were some light sweatshirts/jackets. 

October 23, 2006

What a difference 40 degrees and 5 years makes:

October 5, 2011

We had a blast at DW!  For the first time, ALL of us were tall enough to ride EVERY ride!  Jolie was so excited to be able to keep up with her big brother and sister!  She jumped on a few big rides without seeing what they did (because we had NO lines!)  She often came off overwhelmed with how big the ride was! 

Dizzy Disc- Jolie and Faith 

Daredevil Falls (Daniel and Jolie in the front row, Faith in 3rd row---notice Jolie's head is tucked down???)
We rode this ride over and over!  After we rode this a few times, we decided to run over to the Birds of Prey show... and I left my camera in the locker (that we used to keep our stuff dry since Daredevils Falls is a WATER ride.)  And don't you know it... Jolie was selected out of the audience to go on stage during the owl presentation!  It was so exciting for her, but I don't have ONE photo.... wahhhhhh!!!!

We enjoyed many rides...over and over.  It was awesome because the crowd was small and the lines super short!

Faith and Kellie's favorite ride!!!  It was AWESOME!!!
Jolie tried almost every ride, once.  Daniel did many of them, but skipped the ones with loops as he gets motion sick.  Sweet Faith adored every ride she rode!  She did every ride in the park, multiple times!  She reminded me of me when I was her age!

Faith on the new Barnstormer ride--so fun, it puts your stomach in your throat!

We also got to tour Dolly's museum and tour bus!  It was fun seeing how she toured the country, in pink style.

"Hey Kel, we sure don't have a vanity like this in our RV!"

And one of my favorite reasons I LOVE Dollywood---the food!

The first time I ever tried fried green tomatoes was at Dollywood in 1996!

Make sure you read the label:  a 25 lb Apple Pie!!!!!  

 Free Dollywod... what a sweet treat from our Heavenly Father!

So long Dollywood.... maybe next time we'll get to enjoy some of the musicals!

In between our days at Dollywood, we visited GSMNP (Great Smoky Mt. Nat'l Park) again.  We were ready to tackle the first real hike of our journey…. Chimney Tops Trail!  After schooling in the morning, we were off….

Beautiful trail, beautiful smiles :)

Jon and I last hiked this trail in 1996.  Hm…. 15 years younger had us remembering this trail a little differently :)

We had so much fun climbing and conquering the trail…

Seeing fun critters...
We believe this is a jumping mouse.  He was the cutest!  About 2" big and jumping through the leaves on our trail.

The most exciting critter we discovered didn’t get its photo taken…  We were coming down the trail and nearing the end with Faith and Daniel in the lead, Jolie and I walking hand in hand with Jon as the caboose.  From the caboose, we hear Jon say, “Hey, you just stepped over a SNAKE!”  Jolie and I turned around and there was a 3’ long snake hanging out at the bottom of the rock we had just stepped over!  Jolie was very freaked out and started climbing up me like I was a tree :)  She was crying and wanting to get away from it quickly, so no photo.

And enjoying my favorite childhood activity.... creek walking!

Actually, the ascent was challenging, but we made it fine.  The kids did great!  We received comments from other hikers that we must have bribed the kids with toys to get them to hike without complaining.  We joked back and said, “No, we just promised them a ride home and some dinner.”  hee hee

The tippy top of Chimney Tops!

Amazing view...sharing it together!

Our hike:  2 miles & 1,700 vertical feet---one way.  And, yes!  The view is worth the hike!

This is Chimney Top

Yup, we climbed THAT!

Very happy with their accomplishment!  We are so very proud of them!!!  Doing hard things together builds family identity!  What are you doing to build family identity with your family?

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