Day 2 began with some breakfast at the campsite and breaking down the tent from the light rain we got late the night prior. In fact, there was some great heat lightning that we admired from the car as the sun set, but the thunder accompanying it later that evening made Nicky rouse me from sleep to remind her that everything was ok.
As day 2 went on, we left OH, passed through KY via routes 275 and 75 South into TN where we found a BBQ place for dinner, Buddy’s. I note it not for its delicious fare. Quite the opposite. I draw attention to its name to ensure it is avoided in the future. The food was alright for a place that had been “smokin’ since ’79”, but the humidity in the air made water droplets condense on the AC ducts above us and drip into our plates of ribs and pulled pork.
Afterwards, a scattered shower and ominous clouds guided us to the entrance of the massive Smoky Mountains Nat’l Park. This place is truly huge. I had hoped to take Nicky to hike Clingman’s Dome after setting up our tent, but the slightly grumpy female ranger that checked us in pointed out it was almost an hour’s drive but still inside the park. We settled for a short hike just down the road from our campsite in the Cody Campground. I was somewhat disappointed since I had hoped to be able to day I had at least hiked somewhere on the Appalachian Trail in TN.
It turned out to be a great decision. A father and his two young children were tented just across from us; apparently camping in all the lower 48 states. They made the recommendation and joined us shortly after we departed. I use the word tented loosely as it was a glorified “top bunk” perched atop their suburban with a steel ladder leading down the side to the ground. Apparently all three of them stayed in it.
The hike itself, just under a half mile, led to a clear stream cascading over numerous rocks beneath a rustic wooden bridge stretched from bank to bank. We spent over an hour soaking our not so tired feet until they were nearly blue, figuring that borderline hypothermia was the best way to sleep somewhat comfortably in the July heat.
Dunking our heads in the rushing water sure helped to make things more comfortable too.
Afterwards, our first fire of the trip. I know I know, “weren’t you just complaining about how hot it was?” Well, we got Smores stuff and we were going to have desert damnit! Getting the firewood for said snack proved to be a small adventure due to what we presumed to be a stray dog wandering across the main road who refusing to be afraid of oncoming traffic.
As I write this, the sun has decided to set and another day of this trip is done. It’s hard to imagine another week and a half of all this traveling. But, I’m certain that once it’s done, I’ll look back and think, “where’d all the time go?”