We left home at 7am and ate breakfast in Greenville. We arrived at Smokemont around 11am and set up on site D33. This site was on the end of the row and not far from the bathroom. Then we went into Cherokee for lunch. After lunch we walked around the campground (about 1.75 miles). While walking we met Art and Alice from Georgia. He’s 80 and she’s 68 and both love camping. Art works on his motorhome a lot and did most of the renovations. We decided to try to run our refrigerator on the 12 volt battery which only lasted 8 hours so we will have to get it checked out next week. We ran our generator to build up the battery again.
We got up early and hiked to Charlie’s Bunion on the Appalachian Trail. It took us 3 hours to get there and 3 ½ hours to get back. The downhill back was really hard on Don’s knees and ankles. The book said it was 8 miles round trip, and our map showed 8.8 miles round trip, but our Fitbit showed 11.5 miles after all the zigzagging.
After breakfast we walked around the campground and visited with Art and Alice again. I bought a handmade hot air balloon and whirligig from Alice for $8 each. Then we got a tour of their camper and saw all the improvements that Art did himself. They invited us for lunch but we went and hiked the Oconoluftee Trail to Cherokee (3.6 miles round trip). After lunch at McDonalds we played in the river and then relaxed around the campground.
We left the campground at 7:30am and got home around lunchtime.
Things We Learned or Saw:
1. The book said our refrigerator should run for 3 days on the battery but it didn’t work that long. We will need to get the refrigerator checked out.
2. We saw turkey, ground hog, ringnecked snake, hawks, and wet bear prints on a rock. (the guy in front of us on the trail saw the bear).
3. We met lots of nice people in the campground!
4. I want to try to make the hotair balloon and whirligig. They were made out of the plastic canvas and I can use the ones I bought as a pattern.
5. It has been years since we went to Charlie’s Bunion and it was beautiful!
6. Downhills are really hard on Don.
Original Photo by Pat Hensley