The Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the first national park I can remember visiting. Although I think my first national park visit was really to the Grand Canyon when my parents looked like hipsters and drove a van. A real van with a moon shaped window and an airbrushed mural. I probably rode on my mom’s lap while she warmed my baby food in the dashboard window.

We aren’t as cool as my parents were. We drive a big white diesel Chevy  that hasn’t been washed since October.  But at least we use seat belts.

The Great Smokey Mountains is the first park I can remember visiting. I remember the river churning with rapids as white as doves but as unpredictable as cats. I remember the mountains poking out of the clouds like giant tombstones in a foggy cemetery. I remember my teenage self getting ticked about something and pouting on the Appalachian trail. I probably didn’t get to curl my bangs that morning.

I didn’t remember  John Ownby’s cabin. Or the history. I didn’t remember the land was originally home to the Cherokee Indians who were driven out. I didn’t remember settlers were evicted from their homes and lives to make create the park we now visit.

So many old and new memories being pulled or created and stashed in this already challenged brain of mine.

Love and Laughter,

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