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Cherokee Day II

September 16, 2012

Cherokee is a quaint little town in NC just outside the gates of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It’s on rt 441, a mountainous road that runs 30 miles through the heart of the Smokeys to Gatlinburg, TN. The Cherokee nation has a lot of cultural POIs here, a museum and living village etc but there are plenty of souvenirs and t shirts to be had also.

Threatening weather today so we got up early to beat the rain and headed to the riding stable for a longer ride today. Back on our familiar mounts, we headed out to a waterfall. It was just Dorothy and I and the guide. Pleasantly chilly today with rays of sun poking through the tall trees. Ferns, flowers and ground cover all smell so fresh. Patches of dark exposed earth were the wild hogs have been rooting for grubs. The guide is a chatty 19 year old kid and I’m glad I’m in the back again. No better place to be on a Sunday morning than God’s own natural cathedral.

In a split second, my horse spooks and he’s facing back toward home. I tug the reigns to turn him around to find that a deer had run across the path and like a chain reaction, each horse scares the next. So much for the illusion that when I’m thrown to the ground and the rattlesnake is about to bite that my big black Rambo will come to my rescue and stomp it to death.

Got to the waterfall and dismounted for some hiking and pictures. It was nice to get off and stretch. Motorcycle riding unexpectedly does not translate well to horseback riding. I thought a saddle was a saddle. We got back to the horses and we had an opportunity to just hang out and pet them. I had been sensing some attitude as part of Rambo’s personality. He was a little pushy and didn’t want to stop to let me take pictures. So i was rubbing his neck and his chest….gave him a good rub down, scratched his muzzle and as I started to walk away, big tough Rambo swung his neck around and nuzzled his face right onto my neck. He melted my heart, right in the middle of the Smokey mountains.

When the stable came into view, we were sad to be at the end of the ride. We had such a good time. We thanked the staff for their hospitality and said goodbye to the horses. On the ride, we had seen a little white church set back up in the woods. The guid told us that they still occasionally hold revivals there. So on the way out, we turned off to find the path leading to the church.

We walked up the path to find it was an old Baptist church, established in the 1800s but rebuilt in 1912. 100 years in the woods and it was in great shape. No broken windows, no vandalism, and minimal vermin damage. The doors were open so in we went. It was like stepping back in time. Old wooden pews and pulpit. A wood ceiling, plain walls and windows all around. You could almost hear a raucous revival going on.

With the weather on our side, we thought we would try to squeeze in a short hike. We stopped at the Smokey mountain visitor center to pick up a map. We headed back into town for sneakers, lunch and map review. By the time we left the restaurant the sky looked like doomsday was upon us.

We went back to the room to find out the latest weather info and rehash our options. Having no Internet, it was torturous to formulate a plan. With the skies about to open up, the only clear decision we could make was to skip the hike and have a nap. When I woke up, I looked out the window and saw a bright sunny sky without a drop of rain on the ground. With Dorothy still sound asleep I finally got to use the rocker on our balcony. As i sat there catching up the blog, I saw two people float by on tubes.

Tomorrow we run for Asheville to wait out the rain………..

First sight of the little white church.






The boys







Entrance to Smokey’s

First sign of trouble.

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