We first visited Gatlinburg over the Millennium. We wanted to welcome in the year 2000 completely differently than we had welcomed every other year.
The kids were young back then. Mario, our youngest, was 2, and Link, our oldest, was 8. On the eve of the new millennium, we looked down upon the fireworks from our rented home up in the mountains. We breathed a sigh of relief when midnight struck and nothing happened. All that worry over Y2K… and nothing happened.
We spent New Year’s Day walking the streets of Gatlinburg. It was a beautiful day and one we’ll never forget. We took an olde time family photo to commemorate our trip. It still rests on the mantel of our fireplace.
Now that the kids are older, we decided another trip was in order, with bigger and funner activities in store.
It was crazy fun!
I admit, I was a little worried when we first talked about white water rafting. Visions of us hitting a boulder, flying out of the boat, being pulled under… all ran through my head, but I was not going to be the worry wart who put a damper on it. The kids and my hubby were too excited!
Our guide was Taco, and as you might expect, he was pretty cool. All tanned and muscular and tattooed – not that I noticed – and living the dream. Floating along, bouncing off rocks here or there, and going wherever the water may lead.
Sensing our(?) desire for more excitement, he led us through the rougher waters and showed us many “tricks”. One trick involved running right up to a boulder, which was supposed to just spin us around, I think, but ended up jarring Chip’s foot loose and sending him flying out of the boat. He did exactly as he had been instructed on the bus ride over… “hold on to your paddle, do NOT stand up, and swim towards the boat”. Of course, the boat was being hurled down the river, but we managed to turn around and meet up with him. I, very motherly-like, kept chanting – Keep swimming. You’re okay. Just keep swimming. He, very young-adult-male-like, thought it was totally awesome that he was thrown from the boat. After Taco hoisted him back in, we noticed blood on his face. Turns out he had cut his finger, which he promptly used to paint more blood on his face. He now had the look of a survivor.
That experience was by far the highlight of our trip. We zip-lined as well, but that seemed tame since we’d done it before in Branson. We walked the streets of Gatlinburg and found the olde photo shop we were in 14 years ago. We discussed having another taken, but since we were missing Link, it didn’t seem right.
We stopped off in Nashville for a few days on our way home, and although Hubby and I love it there, the kids were none too thrilled. Their biggest thrill was finding some deals in a thrift store near the hotel.
All in all, it was a great time! I cherish every moment we spend together as a family since they are few and far between. And I hope we’re creating memories for the kids that will last their lifetime.
Now to figure out what’s next….