Rhododendron Creek Hike With the Family
Sunday Jan. 3, 2016
Dana & Kenny Koogler
Crystal, Michael and Tessa Lindsey
1.5 miles round trip approx.
Several Winters back we hiked Rhododendron Creek. We took our grandson Michael back when it was around age four. We had such a good time and the photos were so pretty our daughter, Crystal (Mom of Michael and Tessa) wanted to go see it for herself. We had been trying to get out to the Smokies more and not constantly run off to other areas to do things.
Adam was out of town at an archery show so while he was away we decided after church on Sunday would be an opportunity to get out as a family and do this hike. We ran the idea past Crystal and she jumped at the chance. We went to church together. Afterwards we changed clothes and loaded our gear up. We went over to her house to eat a quick sammige for lunch.
Once that was done we hit the road all piling into Nanny's jeep for the trip.
Tessa caught a few quick winks in the jeep on the ride. It did not take too long though
to get to the park. We piled out and got ready to hit the trail. We started out with Crystal toting Tessa, but the creek crossing changed our minds. There is only one crossing on the trip, but it was high water and just bad enough it was not going to be a dry one if we were not very careful. We changed over with her wearing the daypack and me wearing Tessa in the baby carrier. Kenny helped Michael get across by carrying him piggy back. He then helped me sure Crystal got across ok. The trail is really very good most of the way. It gets enough use to be easy to follow. It is not maintained though and there are places where you are on a narrow ledge or rock hopping the edge of the stream. Other places you have to duck under logs fallen across the trail. It is no big deal for an average hiker, but it is a little trickier with a baby on your back!
We tried to give the kids plenty of chances to play and run around. Tessa loves hiking trips, but when there is a pretty scene she wants to experience it.. not just be carried along.
We did lots of stops to allow for rock throwing and messing round with sticks and such.
Papaw talking to Tessa about waterfalls.
Above is a short video of the first falls and kids tossing rocks and talking about the place.
Me trying to tell Michael not to keep the rocks. He ended up throwing his keeper rocks later.
He did not want to carry them very far!
We promised the kids we'd go out to eat once we got done with the hike. Crystal had accurately predicted it would be about supper time when we got done. It was 5:30 pm when we arrived back at the jeep. The whole hike was easy, fun, and we had no problems. It felt very satisfying to be out together getting some fresh air, sunshine, exercise. It also felt good to keep our word that we'd get Crystal up there to see it. She found it extremely easy.
Tessa got fussy the last bit. She was still sleep. I felt her head drop forward on the hood of my coat. She dozed off using my hood as a pillow. She woke up near the end of the hike and was wanting to get down. Wanting Mommy. Wanting to go get in the warm and eat.
We got back to the jeep. We had a quick snack of oranges and chocolate to buy us time to get to Calhoun's in Gatlinburg. We enjoyed a warm, cozy meal in a beautiful setting by the fire.
Tessa felt better and got a second wind. She opened her silverware packet and brandished a fork at me saying "Nanny, I fight you!" What a hilarious, fun day.