DAY EIGHT We should have done more.
We woke on Saturday morning with plans to drive the Cades Cove wildlife loop and hike a trail to Abrams Falls. Once again, we left camp at a dumb time in relation to lunch and had no means of preparing any lunch. Yes, we are that thick headed.
The Loop is an 11 mile, paved, single lane road, going one-way, with a speed limit of 15 mph. There are several points of interest along the route including numerous old churches, cemeteries, homestead cabins, and trail access points. We stopped at the first log cabin where Marcus proceeded to fall both going up and down the trail to the house. He has been a real disaster this trip, stumbling over rocks, twigs, and seemingly nothing.
Next, we stopped at an old church and cemetery. I got Marcus to do some math at the gravestones to figure out how old each person was when they died. We even found one grave where the birth date was the mid-1700’s.
Our next intended stop was the road to Abrams trail and Abrams Falls. However, when we got to the turn-off, a ranger was waving people to move on and informed us that there had been a medical emergency. Hmm. We wondered to each other, what kind of medical emergency shuts down an entire trail? The next day we found out from a ranger that a man had drowned at the Falls. It had been the second fatality in the park in less than a week. These tragedies, combined with the books I had been buying at the visitor's centers detailing people who had gotten lost surrounded by people and never found in the Smokies, put me into a state of extra, super safety mode.
Since we couldn’t complete the hike we had planned, we stopped at an area which was presented as a small mountain community. It included a working flour mill, two cantilevered barns, a house, and a shack of some sort. The area was beautiful, and the weather was ideal to be outside. Unfortunately, hanger had taken its hold, and we headed back to the camper for some lupper (lunch/supper). Jason made delicious Greek sandwiches, and we sat around the fire playing Carcassone and Phase 10. We finished out the night reading by the fire before we straggled to bed one by one. We slept like dead horses.
Little did we know it would rain for days afterward. We should have done more.