So today I had to drive 500 miles, from Nashville to Gatlinburg and back. I had to deliver some printed material I designed and couldn't get it delivered on Veterans' Day. Stupid Veterans! WHAT DID YOU EVER DO FOR ME? I decided to try and make it feel less work-like by jamming in a hike while I was there, since Gatlinburg is the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park....since 2008 is DG's Year of National Parks (Six, if you include Colorado Natl Monument, which you probably shouldn't).
I left at 4:30 am so I could make me delivery by 9 EST and then I decided to have some pancakes. Gatlinburg is chock full of pancakes and I've never been able to figure out why. I'm not exaggerating: there are at least fifty pancake houses in a ten-block stretch. I settled on Log Cabin Pancake House and I ended up having country ham biscuits because I am not really a pancake person, I think. I don't like sweet in the morning.
ANYWAY, the waitress was rude - I was trying to finish Somerset Maugham's Mrs Craddock, and with just eight pages to go, she asked me to get up because she "needed the table." So I told her I needed the 20% I was going to tip and left her a dollar. Sorry, lady....I was a waiter for a decade....there are subtler ways to get the humps out of the chairs, as my (yet another!) newly-re-found friend Melissa used to say. So I still have eight pages to find out what happened to Bertha Craddock.
Then I did the short drive to the Laurel Falls trailhead. This is an easy trail - it's paved! - but only because traffic was so heavy on it they had to pave it to prevent erosion. 1.3 miles to a lovely 30-foot cascade (it looks small in the pic, but that's a pretty good guess, I think), where I promptly slipped and fell despite the five hundred signs on the trail that say "yoo-hoo, this will be slippery: children have died!" And also there were bear warnings every ten feet. What there were NOT were warning signs about: OLD PEOPLE. Here's a note for you to type into your Blackberry or your iPhone or your Rolodex or to just yell at your ASSISTANT or WHATEVER you have for this sort of thing: Fall + Veterans Day + Paved Trail equals 10,000 Grannies. And they don't say HELLO on the trail and it pisses me off. By the end of it, after I had passed the cast of The Golden Girls fifteen times, I made a point of saying REALLY LOUD: "Hi! You're ALMOST THERE! Just a FEW MORE STEPS! YOU CAN DO IT" Even though it was still like a mile and a half away. That's what you get for not saying "morning," you stupid old bags.
Anyway, it was pretty, fall, leaves, waterfall, blah blah blah. The usual with this sort of shit. Very inspiring. Sigh.