Posted by: lylescott89 | July 2, 2014

Clingman’s Dome

Breakfast Buffet!

Breakfast Buffet!

Hey kids,

One of the things I really enjoy in the Smoky Mountains is actually exploring them. I enjoy driving into the mountains, breathing in the fresh air and taking some lovely photos. The only problem is that Adam is not particularly fond of this. He likes finding rivers and creeks he can play in or rocks he can climb, but spectacular views are just not his thing. Eventually I have to believe that he will come to appreciate it.

Despite Adam’s lack of enthusiasm for the view I insisted we travel to Clingman’s Dome. I pretty much want to go there each time I visit, but the last two trips it did not work out for one reason or another. This trip was not going to end without a trip to the dome. As a compromise I told Adam we could use our free pancake breakfast coupon at Reagan’s Pancake House that morning.

We arrived at Reagan’s and found the place as it normally is on the weekdays; fairly empty. Adam and I went with the $5.00 buffet upgrade while Donna just stuck with the free big-ass stack of pancakes and coffee. I have to say I absolutely love that place. I know it is not the most popular, but the bacon and sausage on the buffet are absolutely delicious. The pancakes are great and so are the biscuits and gravy. I am pretty sure I ate at least a pound of bacon that morning. Adam did very well with his buffet, but Donna only finished off a little more than half of her pancakes.

Obligatory Photo Opportunity

Obligatory Photo Opportunity

The Parkway was not busy that morning so we quickly made our way down to the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We stopped for the obligatory picture at the sign (we were the only ones there) and then made our way towards the dome. Several stops were made along the way for photo opportunities and that was okay with Adam at first, but he eventually started complaining so I told him we’d get to the dome and then stop on the way back.

For the uninitiated, Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. There is a short, paved trail that leads up to the observation deck. It is a bit steep, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

We parked the car and as I opened the door Donna asked me if I thought it was chilly outside. It did not take me long to realize that it indeed was quite chilly. In fact, it was downright cold. There were a number of clouds in the area and without the sunshine the temperature was below 60 degrees. Immediately Adam complained because he was cold and he took Donna’s sweater. Donna grabbed a blanket out of the back while I decided to just walk in my shorts and T-shirt figuring that the cold would be refreshing and I would not sweat so much. More on that in a minute.

Smoky is the word

Smoky is the word

After a quick bathroom break we began our trek up the trail. It was steep, as I mentioned, and it was great that Adam and I had our walking sticks to assist us up the trail. We had gotten a very short way up the path when I stopped to take a few photos. Adam and Donna continued upward. A few moments later I caught up with them about a fourth of the way up the trail. Adam found a rock and said he was tired. Donna grabbed some bench. Back in the day I too would be winded, but not on this day. All that exercise was beginning to pay off because instead of being the one lagging behind and complaining I was leading the way for the slowpokes. It felt really good.

By the time we reached the top the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining. It was warming up just a tad. When we got to the top of the observation deck Adam said “this is it? We climbed up here for this? I’m going back down”. I felt bad for him. I don’t know why, but I did. After a few more photos we got back to Adam and began the trek back down the mountain.

When we got to the bottom Adam asked if he could climb on the rocks like the other kids were. I said that he could, but had to be very careful since it would take an ambulance about 45 minutes to get up there to us. (This according to the nearby park ranger) So Adam began to climb and suddenly he was having a blast. He climbed up and down and up and down and…well you get the idea. We just waited and I took some more pictures. By the time he was done I realized that the cool air did not stop me from sweating and I went to the car and changed my shirt. Nothing stops me from sweating. I should start calling myself the Sweat Master.

It cleared up

It cleared up

So I had finally made my way back to Clingman’s Dome and doggone it I had fun. And the best part? I was not exhausted. Sweaty yes, but I could have walked right back up there and that my friends is quite awesome.

Namaste

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