Monday, February 28, 2011

Smoky Mountains Trip

After Hunting Season

Smoky Mountains Trip

John and I always try to go on a small trip when hunting season is over. We usually go to the Smoky Mountains. We love the beautiful scenery and love to watch the wildlife. Luckily we share a love for watching wildlife. We don't have time to go on a bigger trip. By the time hunting season is over we have John Brady and Emma's birthday and then the Mercedes Marathon and then there is all the catching up on yard work because Turkey Season is just around the corner!

So, last weekend we loaded up and headed to the Mountains. When I am with John in the mountains we stay in the park the whole day. We never enter a shop....period. We do go out to eat at night but we picnic during the day. The next couple of posts tell the trip in pictures. Hope you enjoy!


John and I love Cades Cove.

We never get tired of it.

I can't imagine waking up every morning to that view.

I bet they didn't have high blood pressure.

We always see many deer in Cades Cove so I don't take a lot of pictures

because we already have so many. So, I just put a few of my favs .

This doe just came walking out right on me.

It looked like she was saying.....

This is my house and you need to get out of it

We watched this big fellow until he decided to quit eating

and go up the mountain

I just thought this was a pretty picture.

This doe was eating moss off of the rocks in a dry creek.

Can you believe it!

As we were coming to the last part of the Cades Cove Loop

John glanced up and yelled BEAR.

We couldn't believe it. We never see bear when we go in the winter.

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Roaring Forks Motor Trail

We were disappointed that this trail was still closed. It will reopen in March.

John and I love to come in the winter because you can see so much deeper into

the trees and see more wildlife but the down side is that some trails are closed and the bears are hibernating. We were able to ride up about 3 miles. Of course, John spotted these turkey immediately.

They were four young gobblers. Three were on a log and another was walking close by.

I got quietly out of the car without actually closing the door, walked up a little ways and then went into the woods to get pictures. Luckily, there wasn't many people around.

John kept them from being interested in what I was doing.

How, you ask?

Yes, that is John's arm holding his iPhone out the window.

John put an app on his iPhone for the is a

Primos app that has animal calls. There are several turkey calls on it.

I got pretty close and then John shook the iPhone to make the turkey call.

All 4 of the turkeys heads shot straight up, they lifted their wings and all gobbled.

I jumped.

All four turkey started hunting that turkey they were hearing.

They walked right past me heading toward John.

We watched them until they were safely out of the road.


We like to ride up past the Elkmont Camp Grounds and walk.

This is where the park workers lived years ago but it has been shut down for a while.

The houses are in really bad shape.


They are in the process of redoing some of them.

Just enjoying the beautiful scenery.

God's beautiful creation!

Some of the houses.

All vacant

Oh, to have a home with that view!


As we passed over the highest part of the Smoky Mountains,

on our way to Cherokee, there was still a lot of snow. We stopped to make pictures and

I stepped literally knee deep in snow!

Cherokee, North Carolina

We always rode to Cherokee when we first started going to the mountains after we were married. We usually passed through Cherokee on our way to Maggie Valley. Both of these places went downhill years ago and we haven't been in years.

We read about elk being released in The Smokies a couple of years ago.

So...we decided we were going to try to find them this year.

We read that they were released in the Cataloochee Valley.

We also found a few Smoky Mountain blogs that said that a few elk had migrated to Cherokee.

So, we rode to Cherokee to see if we could find some elk.

We went to the Cherokee Visitor Center and asked about the elk.

The guide said that some days they would come into the field beside the visitor center early in the morning and late at night.

We talked about it and decided to hang around a while. We found a pretty scenic spot and had a picnic lunch.

We rode into Cherokee and was really pleasantly surprised at how it had built back up.

Of course, this is because of the new casino. John and I aren't gamblers.

No judgment long as you aren't taking anything away from your family

and obligations....we just don't get a kick out of it. But man, has it done wonders for that town.

You should see the new school.

I can't believe I didn't get a picture.

I have never seen a nicer school. Amazing!

The football stadium....unbelievable.

The football field...again, amazing!

If you are in Cherokee....go find it and look for yourself!

We came back to the Visitor Center to walk the trail, beside the river, that is provided by the Visitor Center. John wanted to walk off the trail closer to the river. We talked about how long we would stay in hopes of seeing the elk and decided that we would not stay until dark since we didn't want to drive the twisty curves, over the mountain, back

to Gatlingburg at night

That was when John said that with it being a really overcast day that we might find the elk

out already if we knew where to look. hunter husband went into game mode.

He found this tree pretty quickly and said it was where they had been rubbing

their antlers and then found where they crossed the river to the field by the

Visitor Center. He found a point, across the river, to look for and then we

got into the car and hunted a way across the river.

After one wrong turn we got on a road on the other side of the river and John found the point he was looking for.

He drove slowly and found a road he thought might be along their trail.

We went about 1/2 a mile when we came to a big field. Not being a hunter I saw nothing.

John said

There they are

We had 3 elk to ourselves for a whole afternoon.

We parked the car immediately before they saw us

and went up into the woods across the road. We would walk and when they raised their head from eating we would stop. Eventually we got right in front of them. John stopped before me and I walked on to try to get some close pictures with my long lens. I loved it. This big guy

(John said small really...big to me) kept looking straight at me and his nose would move. I knew he was trying to figure me out but luckily the wind was blowing in our favor.

15 elk have migrated to Cherokee from where they were released.

As it began to get later in the afternoon 8 cows came out and grazed with these big guys.
We didn't make it to Cataloochee Valley this trip but we have a game plan for our next trip.
I doubt it could be any better than this day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Long Time Coming

Berry Lady Wildcats
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Wallace State - Hanceville

This game has been in the making since 1990
That was when Coach Mitchell Grey reinstated girls basketball
at Berry High School

There are a lot of girls that should be sitting on the end of that bench as honorary players. Because they were willing to keep plugging at it.......keep trying...even though they
were often lucky to win one game.....they are the reason that we still have a girls team.
Nobody gave up.

And then.....came the boost we needed.
Coach Vic Herren
Coach Herren is the principal of the school, the Daddy of 4 girls and coaches
2 of his girls on this team. He has pushed, prodded, practiced and loved this group of girls
and in return we now have a girls team that is so much fun to watch play.

Girls, you have made the town of Berry so proud.
CONGRATULATIONS on your win at Hanceville!

Warming up before the game

The guys showing their support
Great job

Games over.....WE WON

I don't have any pictures as the game wound down.
I was screaming, jumping and celebrating too much
to get any pics!

The happy Coach hugging his wife!

Emma Herren
high scorer

Coach Herren being congratulated by his Dad

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Heardmont Park

Lawson wanted us to watch him ride his Radio Flyer 3 wheeler that we got him for Christmas. So, after all the activities Saturday, we stopped by Heardmont Park to let him ride for a few minutes. Now, this boy has a need for speed and riding on the flat asphalt just wasn't getting it for him. So, he tried riding up the bridge but only made it about half way. He got off the 3 wheeler and drug it to the top and then took off. Everybody got out of his way and he thought it was great fun!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Saturday, after the Mercedes Kids Marathon, the Lawson gang headed out to eat lunch. We ate at a restaurant that we had not tried before. Dale's Southern Grill down highway 280. YUMMMY. Good food-Good prices.

After lunch we headed to Treetop Adventures to play lazer tag. This was John Brady's birthday gift from us. I love finding something new and fun that the kids can do for their birthday. After all memories are forever and priceless. The kids had a good time and we had a good time watching. Hope you enjoyed your birthday gift JB3.

By the time the kids had spent their playing cards at Treetop Adventures everybody
was pooped and headed home.
Another great family day.....Priceless Pops helping John Brady "suit up"

Got on their "game face"

Lawson trying out his "gun"

Kim helping Abby Claire

Listening to the game plan

Lawson's lazer vest came to his ankles

waiting in line for the go carts

Emma is all into the go carts

Abby Claire taking a curve

When you aren't tall enough you have to ride with someone
Brady and John Brady

Go Abby

Lawson and Dave

Dave and Lawson behind

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Mercedes Kids Marathon

I have had a Grandchild participate in The Mercedes Kids Marathon
for 5 years. It started with Emma when she was in Kindergarten, then Abby Claire
and now John Brady got to participate because he is in kindergarten.

I love that they do this. It is a worthy cause and it is good for them.

They must run 24 (?) miles at home or school and finish the last mile
at the Marathon.

This years run was this past Saturday. It was a beautiful day and felt so good to be out. I felt like taking off and running with them. All my kiddos did great.A parent runs with the Kindergarten. Brady ran with John Brady

Here they come

Almost to the finish line

Here comes Abby Claire

Keep it up
You are doing great

The Samford University Track and Field Team
ran with the different age groups.
Of course, they were so cute and sweet!
Here comes Emma

As Emma was about to round the corner to the finish
line she saw me and John. We were alone. Brady was running with JB3
and Kim was at the finish line to get pics there.

Here's the thing.....
As she saw us
she yelled
"Hey Pop"
and slapped his arm as she ran by
and this ole MeMe
got all teary eyed
and had to hide the tear that ran down my face
Grandchildren turn you into big old mushy cry babies!
This pic was her yelling the "Hey Pop"

Emma, Abby Claire and John Brady
You made us proud!