An Adventurous Week With Family!
by Rachelle Siegrist
We enjoyed an adventurous fun filled week with my parents, niece and nephew, starting with a happy reunion a week ago! Last Sunday morning while driving to Fort Loudoun State Park, we stopped along the Foothills Parkway to play in the dusting of snow. We managed to scrape up enough to build a small snowman, we named Poe and placed at the base of the windshield. Poe managed to last through our picnic at Chilhowee Lake, and much of the drive until all that remained was his head and an arm, which blew off while driving down the road, obviously filling the truck with laughter!
Once at the fort, the kids enjoyed exploring the numerous buildings, finding old canons, and checking out historical artifacts! Haydyn and I even made special brick oven “pizzas” for everyone, from pieces of bark, stones and sticks in a brick fireplace. Blue skies above and ample sunshine made for a great day while roaming throughout the picturesque fort and the evening culminated with a delicious supper at a favoriteMexican restaurant.
The next morning Wes showed the kids how to draw and design their own forts. Once completed, we each explained how our forts worked and what everything was, and Tyler informed me that mine called “NoNo’s Happy Fort” was going down, because of the chocolate fountain and palm trees in the center court yard, as well as the fact that the canons shot out chocolate kisses instead of bullets, and the alligators swam in a chocolate filled moat!
That afternoon we hiked up nearby Middle Prong Trail, and the kids had a ball exploring and seeing the waterfalls and cascades! We petted lots of thick green moss, skipped rocks and pretended how much fun it would be to tube down some of the big cascades! They really loved the old, long, metal bridge and floating pieces of bark, our boats, down the white water!
Clouds, cold and drizzly rain made it a perfect day Tuesday for spending the afternoon at friends Sharon and Tom’s house, while Sharon helped the kids make special cards and projects. That evening they, as well as friend Kit, joined us for a taco party at our house, with everyone enjoying playing in ping pong tournaments!
We spent Wednesday afternoon in Cade’s Cove, where we counted close to 80 deer while driving around the loop road. We stopped to walk and see historical buildings and play in the wee dusting of snow at times, and I must admit we all just about froze to death! That evening we joined several friends for a delicious supper at Pizza Hut, and played pool here at the house afterwards.
Although Thursday brought clear blue skies and sunshine, it was still a cold one! So we bundled up and headed for the Knoxville Zoo, where we had a great time seeing all of the animals and exhibits! A highlight for the kids was riding a camel for the first time, and for me it was spending time singing a duet with Georgie the Gibbon, as well as watching a mother gorilla cradling and feeding her baby! Delighted to have captured the precious intimate moment in a photo, I can’t wait to paint it!
Lots of fun and excitement at the zoo!
Friday we hiked to a nearby waterfall, and I am thrilled to say I have two new little hiker buddies, who absolutely love hiking now, especially to waterfalls! They had a great time climbing over the rocks and standing at the base of the falls! We watched water striders and small minnows swimming, petted lush moss and smelled wee wildflowers. Needless to say, we had an awesome time!
Haydyn and Tyler by the falls ~ Dad, me, Haydyn and Tyler walking the trail
That evening friends joined us for fresh baked brownies on the screen porch and the kids, big (me) and little, had fun walking and playing on the trail in the back woods. Little Chance immediately fell in love with my family, especially Haydyn, and while sitting by her on the porch swing, sweetly told her “hold hands” in his tiny little voice, and as you can imagine the rest of us said “Ohhhhhh” with big smiles on our faces!
Sadly, the next morning it was time for big hugs and goodbyes, and after our fun, adventure filled week, nobody was ready to go home! Needless to say we’re already looking forward to their next visit!!!
Until next time . . .