The kids had a Monday off from school back in September, and I couldn't stand to let it go to waste. Emma already had hiking plans with some of her friends, and Scott had to work, so I packed up the youngest four Cruze kids and let the boys each invite a friend, and we headed to the Smokies.
We decided on Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, because we'd never been there before, and the "hike" was an easy one mile up a paved path. We have been trying to be careful not to make Afton hate hikes forever, because right now she pretty much does. She'll go along with it, but gets very tired very easily, has plenty of complaining to contribute, and doesn't really see the point of all that death-march-esque walking. So, one mile seemed like a good compromise.
If I'd checked the weather though, I probably would have opted for a different destination. It was chilly, but not too bad. The main bummer was that it was cloudy. And at that high elevation we were smack dab in the middle of the clouds. Which was actually kind of cool in and of itself, but it left us with a lame/nonexistent view. We'll have to come back on a gloriously clear/warm day in the summer.
After walking all the way up to the observation tower we decided to hike down to Andrew's Bald since the trail head was right there in the parking lot. The views were slightly better from there, but not a lot. Still, everyone but Afton enjoyed the extra venture.
Here's our photographic evidence...
Emma and her friends hiked House Mountain. Bringing enos along was probably the best idea ever.