Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smoky Mountain National Park

After Mammoth Cave, we drove to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We stayed for 5 nights in a little camping cabin at the KOA in Townsend. The cabin was super cute, but the "free wifi" didn't reach to our location. That was a bit of a hiccup because we had planned to do a significant bit of online homeschool work there. The other bummer for this part of our trip was the rain. Usually I don't let a little rain get in our way, but it was stormy enough that we spent a little extra time in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area (so many tourist traps - I hated it... the kids loved it!!)
Our little cabin
(makes me want to join the tiny house movement!)
Fighting the Goblin King
on a rainy day
The great thing about homeschool travel is that I usually choose a few relevant subjects to study while we our on the road, but we also let what we discover guide our studies. For this trip I had planned to study the Smoky Mountain NP, salamanders and monarchs, so we had plenty of resources from the local library. While we were there, we discovered that the Cherokee Indians and the Trail of Tears were significant to the area, so we touched on that also. And you can't visit the Smoky Mountains without reading about the bears!
There is a bear WAY up at the tippy top of this tree.
The best view was from the sunroof when we drove under
Just some exploring
Pretty view
A sampling of what we did during those 5 days: hiked, explored the visitors' centers, visited the Mingus Mill, went to a ranger elk program and observed the elk, went to a ranger talk a the Little Greenbrier One Room Schoolhouse, drove Cade's Cove, saw a bear in the tip top of a tree, tagged monarchs (I'll blog more on that), hunted salamanders (also will blog more later), did homeschool at Starbucks (see above lack of wifi in cabin), went to the Rainforest Adventure Zoo during rain storm, and made TWO visits to MagiQuest (again during the rain - I so did NOT want to go there, but Jack was dying to go. It ended up being super fun!)

The Mingus Mill engineering was fascinating
Highest point in the park is the same
elevation as where we live!
General and miscellaneous homeschool resources we used in conjunction with our visit to The Great Smoky Mountains NP (salamander and monarch resources I'll list separately when I blog about those parts of our trip) 

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