It was time for our yearly anniversary trip to Gatlinburg. The drive to Gatlinburg on Friday was difficult. It was 27 degrees when we left our house with freezing rain. It drizzled freezing rain the entire way. Thankfully, Interstate 40 had been pre-treated so the icy spots were minimal. We had good light all the way there.

Saturday is always hiking day if the weather permits. We woke to a brightening sky. The temperature was the low to mid 30’s. We decided on a hike that began at The Sinks on Little River Road. This was our first time out this road. The trailhead parking lot was nice with an overlook at the section of the river that is called The Sinks. It is a narrow raging section with drowning warnings for anyone that may think they would like to kayak through the hydrofoil.

The trail began with a gradual, but continuous grade. There weren’t many rocks on the trail like we were used to. About 1/4 mile in we ran into ice. The ice was solid and about 1 inch thick covering the entire trail and several feet on either side of the trail. It was impassable. Phil got off the trail and had to stomp really hard to break enough ice to get a foothold. It took 35 minutes to go 200 yards. The ice was just so unyielding that we were exhausted by the time we got through that section.

When we reached the nose of that first knob, we were on the sunnier side of the mountain so the temperature was about 8 degrees higher and thankfully, the ice had already melted. It ended up being a really nice trail. We reached the creek and could not cross because of high water so we had to turn back. We will hike this trail again in better weather.

Our second hike of the day was a 1.2 mile paved trail to Laurel Falls. It was a gentle and quick walk out to the falls, but because of the ease of access, it was crowded. So, been there, done that, it was nice, but we probably won’t go back there.

We finished our Saturday with a nice meal at the Cherokee Grill with pork chops and prime rib. We didn’t walk down the strip to shop. If you’ve seen one cheap trinket from Taiwan, you’ve seen ’em all.