By Rachelle Siegrist
Dad and I standing by Spruce Flat Falls
This year, I received the best birthday present, which I have gotten in years . . . my mom and dad! We picked them up at the airport in Maryville last Thursday, thus beginning our weekend full of adventures! Friday morning, after enjoying a relaxing breakfast on the back porch, while eating Wes’ blueberry-lemon pancakes, and feeding my feathered friends, we hit the nearby trail leading to Spruce Flat Falls. We hiked up and down, as we walked along the narrow path clinging to the curves of the mountain, and were excited to see several Rhododendrons blooming along the way! The falls were in glorious form with recent rain, creating a spectacular photo-op and time of enjoyment and relaxation for the four of us! As usual the water was freezing, but I couldn’t resist wading in it, and walking very close to the falls. With the threat of approaching storms, we reluctantly started the hike back.
Dad, Mom and I at the bottom of the falls
Mom and Dad in front of a lovely view along the hike there
Having enjoyed a great morning workout, we treated ourselves to a yummy lunch at our local Mexican restaurant, Monte Real. As usual it was delicious, and we decided we had perfect timing as it started pouring rain while we were high and dry inside! Thankfully the rain cleared out in time for us to enjoy a concert at the Heritage Center that evening, featuring the Early Morning Stringdusters bluegrass band. Afterwards we joined friends, Fred, Barb and Kit for ice cream at our favorite ice cream place! My birthday, Saturday morning, started with another relaxing breakfast on the porch, while watching the birds. Then after a lovely drive through the park, we had a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms picnic area, before visiting the old Greenbrier schoolhouse and starting our hike to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin. We had to make numerous stops along the way to pet and feel the abundant clumps of luscious green moss, showing off the benefits of rain! Crossing a small stream, I noticed several small fish, with pretty bright orange stripes down their sides, and had to stop to admire and watch them for a few minutes, darting about in their icy-cold home. Arriving at the cabin, we took time to sit on an old wooden bench for a while, drinking in the beautiful surroundings, and peace and quiet, while looking at the old cabin and imagining what life must’ve been like for them back then. Feeling relaxed and refreshed we made the journey back, finding ourselves where we had begun our walk in the woods earlier that afternoon.
The hike to the Walker Sisters’ cabin.
We celebrated my birthday supper at Pizza Hut that evening, being joined by Fred, Barb and Kit, and enjoyed great conversation and lots of laughter! Leaving there, we drove into Cades Cove, where we met up with a group of people waiting to enjoy a ranger led, full moon hike. As we walked along, the informative ranger pointed out historic sites and taught us a few things about how it was when the Cherokees lived there. As he was telling a Cherokee tale of how the Opossum came to have a hairless tail, the sun dipped behind the mountains, painting the vast skies above in pinks and oranges! As dark settled in, thousands of fireflies began their amazing show. We became mesmerized as we watched the lights twinkle and flash in the far off forest and wide open fields of grass. The relaxing walk back was interspersed with numerous stops, where we just stood in awe, marveling at this spectacular show of nature! We decided that this was indeed the most stunning display of “birthday candles” which we had ever seen! Several deer were also spotted along the way, and a coyote crossed the field at one point, while the horses casually ate in the grassy fields, looking as if disco lights were behind them, from all of the fireflies flashing! What an awesome end to an already amazing birthday!
The magnificent sunset in Cades Cove
I was thrilled to be able to spend Father’s Day with my dad, after not having been able to do so for many, many years! I made him a breakfast of croissant French toast, topped with pecan, honey syrup, accompanied with fresh mango and pineapple, all served up on the back porch, and interspersed with bird feeding sessions! That afternoon, we spent at the river in nearby Tremont. We found a perfect spot along the river, where we had it all to ourselves, and I was thrilled when I found out what I call “sliding rock” was there! I have wanted to slide down this rock for the past thirteen years, and was so happy to finally have the chance! Wes came up with the great idea to lay an old plastic shower curtain on it, and after it was wet, provided a pretty fun ride down! It was all fun and games until I hit the water the first time, and I thought I had slipped into the arctic waters of Alaska! Once I became numb all over, it seemed much better!
Dad was the spotter, while I slid down the rock, and Kit captured a great video
Dad and my tubing adventures begin!
After a few trips down, it was time to enjoy tubing down the stream and numerous cascades with Dad. We laughed until our stomachs hurt as we bumped and swirled along, while getting stuck on different rocks numerous times, and feeling completely helpless at times to free ourselves! Each time we descended over a bigger cascade, sending splashing freezing cold water all over us, we would holler out, and then laugh at each other, and of course do it all over again and again! Kit could no longer stand not joining in on the fun and made a few fun trips down with me. This went on for a couple of hours, until the nearing thunder and my constant shivering forced us to leave.
Kit and I having a ball
We finished the evening with supper at our local Fish House, where we had a ball watching all of the Canada Geese with their babies, coming to eat the corn that was being fed them. I was thrilled when our waitress let me feed them too! After a walk by the river, we returned home, concluding that it had been a divine and memorable Father’s Day! Reluctantly, we drove my parents back to the airport this morning, where they flew home to Okeechobee. We made loads of wonderful memories and I already eagerly await their next visit!
Our supper at the Fish House
The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels
Wes finished his painting featuring a Raven, and I finally finished mine of the Yellow Lab visiting his wooden Indian friend, this past week.
“The Wooden Indian’s Friend” by Rachelle
“The Regal Raven” by Wes
We’re thrilled to be a part of Trailside Galleries miniature show again this year!
Until next time . . .