Bears, tourists, and family

My family came and went and now the depressing feelings of loneliness and homesickness has taken over.

A couple weeks ago, my family drove down and spent the week with me in the Great Smoky Mountains! I was so excited to see them. They arrived Friday morning while I was at work so the whole work day, I was anxious for that clock to turn 5 so I can race to their cabin and see them. They ended up renting a cabin in Gatlinburg so I pretty much stayed with them the whole week.  It was like a little “staycation” even though I still had to work during the day. We stayed in one of Mountain Laurel Chalets’ cabin called Le Rendezvous. I was really excited to stay in this cabin because I had always heard that the bears like to hang out here and it did not disappoint.


Our first morning there, I woke up and my parents were soaking in the hot tub. Kyle and I went out to chat with them when all of a sudden Kyle goes, “Uh, there’s a bear.” We all look over and this little bear comes trotting straight towards us, onto our deck, paying no mind to our presence. We bolt inside and watch as the bear climbed onto the edge of our hot tub, debating whether or not to jump in. My dad opens the door and starts yelling at it to scare it off. The bear just looked at him, slowly climbed down from the edge of the hot tub, down the deck and goes on his merry way.

SIDE NOTE: While I worked at Mountain Laurel Chalets we always warned our guests to keep their vehicle locked when they stay in one of the cabins because the bears DO know how to open car doors and WILL snoop around to look for food. My parents were aware of this, being told  when they checked in and me reminding them. However, one night, they forgot to lock their door and the next morning, my parents woke up and found their car door was open. Luckily, nothing was damaged. Inside were little muddy bear prints all over the seats. My car was locked and just had one little, single muddy paw print on the drivers side, next to the handle; where you can see that he tried to open because there was mud all over the handle.

I’ve seen the bears here and there when I worked in Gatlinburg so I was use to seeing them. But I was so excited that Kyle and my family was able to see one so close! That afternoon, we all got ready and went horseback riding in the mountains. My family has all been horseback riding at this stable the last time they were here on vacation, but Kyle and Emily had never been so we wanted to take them. It was a lot of fun and we saw ANOTHER bear munching on some leaves during our ride. He was also very close and the horses didn’t seem to mind him.

After our ride we went back to the cabin, showered and rested before we embarked on our night out on the town. That night, we wandered the streets of downtown Gatlinburg and ate a lot, drank a lot anddd that’s about it. Usual Catacutan-Gatlinburg shenanigans.


Sunday was our hiking day. We drove all the way out to Cades Cove to hike Abrams Falls. On the way there, we ran into a lot of idiotic tourists that really pissed us off, that even now when I think about them, it makes my blood boil. I can’t go into it right now because I will rant on and on about it. I’ll just write a separate blog explaining the experience. So, stay tuned for that. Anyways, because of these idiotic tourists, it took us even longer to get to the trailhead. The trail to the falls is a 5 mile, round-trip hike. On the way we got caught in a complete DOWN POUR of rain. We were drenched. But as soon as we got to the falls, the rain cleared and the sun shined. God was totally testing us that day. It was beautiful though. Probably one of my favorite hikes. The rain definitely made the experience more memorable. After the hike, on our way out of Cades Cove, we ran into more idiotic tourists and again, took us FOREVER to get home because of them. But again, I’ll leave that rant for another day.


I had to work during the day, which sucked, but my parent went and braved the Chimney Tops! Chimney Tops is one of Kyle and mine’s favorite hikes. We always take our friends on it so, naturally, we recommended it to my parents. They weren’t really fans. It’s a steep hike so it destroyed their muscles and they weren’t brave enough to climb the rocks. But hey, at least they got exercise? That night, we ate dinner and went downtown and played a round of mini golf.


Again, I had to work during the day. But one of my coworkers so kindly switched days with me so I would have Wednesday off to spend with them. My family gave me a surprise-visit at work and I got to show them around WonderWorks. There were a lot of cool things they wanted to try, but nobody was wearing tennis shoes so they decided to come back and play when I got off work on Thursday. When I came home from work, My mom made us delicious chicken enchiladas. Afterwards, we decided to break out the beer and moonshine and play some games. Adam just turned 21 a week before so this was like one of the first time that we have all been able to drink together! We decided to whip out some old college drinking games and teach my parents how it’s done. We played Irish Poker, Screw the dealer, and Circle of Death. Then we decided to bring out Cards Against Humanity and it was amazing. Needless to say, it was a night of a lot of laughs.


Since I had the day off, we decided to head back down to Gatlinburg and be tourists. Kyle and I both get discounts to the Aquarium so we all stopped by there. On our way to the Aquarium we ran into these people on the strip who were from Wisconsin…. JANESVILLE, Wisconsin. How crazy?! They were your typical Wisconsin people…Super friendly, outgoing and a little intoxicated. They had just came back from drinking at a bar that had really good Bloody Mary’s and recommended that we try it. Which we did end up doing later that day. The rest of the day consisted of some shopping and we ate dinner at the brewery, which has now turned out to be a “Catacutan Favorite.” After dinner, we all road the chairlift up the mountain and took in the twinkling-night view of Downtown Gatlinburg. It was an awesome day.



Thursday, I had to go back to work but the fact that my family was all meeting me there afterwards to play made the day suck less. ALSO, I saw the same bear on my way to work that morning, which also made my day suck less. Anyway, they all got here and we became WonderWorks tourists. Although, I have worked here for 3 months, I still had never participated in many of their exhibits. It turned out to be a lot of fun and now I have a better idea as to what these exhibits actually do. We spent a good 2 hours there until we left for the Island to eat at another Catacutan-favorite, the Timberwood Grill. After dinner, we wandered around the island, did a little shopping and went back to the cabin.


My family left in the morning 😦 It was a sucky day. I had gotten so use to them being here that it was really lonely when they left that morning.

It’s always hard to say goodbye after such a fun week. Since they’ve left, I’ve been feeling super homesick. The depressing feeling that I felt when I first moved here are resurfacing and it’s no fun. So yeah, that’s kinda what I’m dealing with right now. I know it’ll pass or at least lessen and I’ll be home again in like 3 months. I sure do miss them ❤ But I am one lucky girl to have such an amazing family! Even though we may drink to much…




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