Fall in Tennessee

Camping in the Fall FoliageThe past two weekends have both consisted of sleeping outside, in a tent. This isn't extraordinary but it does mean that I went camping two weekends in a row. When Michael asked last minute if we could go up to the Great Smoky Mountains, right after we camped last weekend in Frozen Head State Park, I was hesitant. I really wanted a weekend at home. But then he showed me a picture of what the Fall foliage looked like, and I changed my mind.

Taken from our drive on the way up to the mountains

We made a compromise: Friday night at home, Saturday and Sunday camping. On Friday night we went to see the movie “The Martian” which was really good, I highly recommend it. But what stuck with me, were the previews. Two different movies were shown about going into the woods and getting killed or haunted. I'm very impressionable, hence why I can't ever see scary movies because my imagination will run wild. And the previews alone did the trick.

We woke up early on Saturday to drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We were already floored along the way that the changing colors of the leaves was unbelievable. But when we got to the park it was unreal. Deep reds, neon oranges, bright yellows, that crawled up and down sprawling mountain tops.


Michael was told it would take 2 hours to drive around the 11 mile loop in Cades Cove, a valley surrounded by mountains, so we biked instead. After the bike ride, we ate in the car since it was already getting dark, and we didn't want to miss the views at Clingmans Dome- the highest point in the Smokies on the Tennessee side.

It was dark when we arrived, but we were the last to go up to the observation deck. Michael thought it was cool, I thought it was spooky.

Now the real adventure started. It was 9pm and we still hadn't eaten dinner and after the hike and bike ride we were hungry. We still had an hour and a half drive to our campsite. He picked a more secluded campsite, farther away because it was so crowded this weekend and he wanted a place for the dogs to run around.

We briefly crossed the border into North Carolina and ate at the first restaurant we saw that wasn't inside a casino: Granny's Southern Buffet. The restaurant closed at 9:30 so we got the last scraps of buffet food that I'm sure had been sitting out for hours.

Our drive to the campsite was dark and full of windy, gravel roads. As we were getting deeper and deeper into the forest and no one seemed to be around, at all, I started freaking out. Here's where we get hacked to death.

At 11 pm we finally made it to Martha Sundquist, our campgrounds.Β  I looked around wide-eyed to the moonlit campsite, and Michael kept saying how great it was, “this is ideal!” he'd say. Once we got camp set up we went straight to bed. Or at least Michael did, I kept hearing things.

We woke up at 9 am the next morning, I guess I did eventually fall asleep, all in one piece. And waking up to this view isn't so bad:

Martha Sundquist Camping

And here's my favorite part of the story. We hiked just a quarter of a mile from where we were sleeping to a three mile trail. On our way to the trail head we ran into a group of mountain men.

They were all wearing dirty overalls and most had a tooth or 5 missing. Michael and I couldn't figure out where the trail began, so he asked them casually.
“Oh, you don't want to go hiking. Why not just hang out with us? You can eat apples.”
I had no intention of hanging out with them. One had a large knife in his hand that he was cutting up apples with, while another just stared chewing his apple with an open mouth.
“No, thank you. We're just here to hike.” Michael answered as I was in stunned silence.
But the conversation continued. He asked us where were we from and if we played any instruments and if we were sure we didn't want any apples.

I thought for sure these people were the ones who were going to hack us to death. He finally showed us where the trail started. He tipped his hat and said, “Don't let the woods git ya.”
We hiked the fastest I'd ever hiked before.

We had one more stop on our way home: Cummins Falls. This is a waterfall I'd been wanting to go to for some time but I heard the way down wasn't easy. It was also raining and the park explicitly states that you need to leave the falls by 5pm to make the hike back up at 6pm when the park closes. It was 4:45 and we were just making our way down, in the rain.



Once again, we were the last people there so we had the gorgeous waterfall to ourselves. On the way back Hugo found a dead raccoon and rolled in it, which left a lovely smell to drive home with.

All in all, I'm so glad we went camping this weekend. I guess Michael was right after all, just don't tell him I said that.


And now I have someone for you to meet! Alexis of Chemistry Cachet. Alexis is one of those people that happens to be good at everything. My words, not hers. But seriously. She has a degree in professional chemistry and math; using this degree she started AMS Academic services, she cooks, bakes, gardens, and paints… oh and blogs. I got to ask her some questions about her blog:

You have a degree in professional chemistry and math, how does this influence your blogging?

Most of my information stems from my knowledge. Whether I am sharing a recipe about making your own cold brew,Β  an easy DIY, or just talking about life, I always have a chemist twist on things. Being a writer and editor with some large companies has been a tremendous help with blog writing as well. Β 

What's one of your favorite posts you've written?

I love sharing my journey about staying healthy and fit even with health problems, so I would have to say this fitness post. Although this post stems from having RA, it is applicable to anyone! I am a chocolate expert, so I have to add this one about health benefits of chocolate too!

Tell us a little bit about your business site AMS? Is it hard to balance both?

It is extremely hard and I find myself putting more work into my blog. My academic consulting business is a new endeavor, I have always worked with local clients, so expanding online has been difficult.

What's your go to jam?

Anything and everything Britney Spears…huge Frank Sinatra Fan too. Totally into 90s rap!

Favorite Disney Movie?

This is the hardest question to answer because I am a Disney Fanatic. Growing up it was Lady and The Tramp, which is still special to me. Tangled is my recent favorite. I totally love Peter Pan and Cinderella.

You can only watch one TV show, which do you choose?

I Love Lucy ALL the way! Lucille Ball is my favorite, you can read all that about that here!

See more of my life (and Bulldog πŸ™‚ ) on instagram! You can also follow me on bloglovin | facebook | pinterest | twitter | linkedin

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Omg. This made me anxious just READING ABOUT IT!! Pretty sure Michael is crazy and more adventurous than I could ever be!!

The fall foliage is amazing! We went down to Asheville last year to see the Smokies and I was so taken aback by their beauty! Such a pretty and accessible mountain range! And the hikes were very doable! Laughed so hard with your story about the guys eating the apples. I would have been completely freaked out! Good thing you had your dogs with you! I wouldn't think that anyone would want to mess with your Doberman (I have two great danes and people's perceptions of big dogs are always fearful–little do they know they are the gentlest giants!)

Annie- All Things Big And Small

Wow how beautiful! You are wayy adventurous for going full-on camping… how on earth did you charge your phone?! πŸ™‚

Wow, that sure is pretty! I've never done any Fall camping but it gets to be pretty cold here in Wisconsin to do that but gosh, I am jealous cuz it sounds like a great time. Plus, you didn't get killed – awhoo hoo! πŸ™‚

As someone who has lived in East TN for my entire life, it's so interesting to see it through someone else's eyes! Fall has always been my favorite here because of those views. (Who cares about PSLs when you have THAT kind of thing outside your door, ya know?) I went to college 15 minutes away from Cummins Falls, so it was always the weekend hang out spot for people. I haven't been there in years!

So basically you met some people out of Deliverance…LOL and WAHHHHHHH.

Ok you living in TN is gonna break my homesick camel's back lol. My family and I used to go camping in the Smokies almost every weekend! And don't be afraid of the mtn people, they might look scary but they really are nice I swear lol

Absolutely GORGEOUS!! I'm not one for camping, but I could be convinced. My mind operates the same way–I do NOT do scary movies because I swear they're all going to come true! You're a trooper for going to see a movie this close to Halloween…I KNOW all the previews will terrify me haha! We're planning a trip out to nashville here soon, we have GOT to grab coffee!!!

That place looks absolutely incredible!

Darcy Victoria

Welcome to Fall on the east coast πŸ™‚ I am so pumped to get back to those Mountains…heading for Nashville on Thursday for a wedding, then we're driving back so we can make a stop in my hometown outside of Bristol. Can't wait to see those views again!

We went up to Brianhead, UT a few weeks ago and it was so beautiful up in the mountains with the fall foliage! I'm so ready to go back and never leave!! Beautiful shots!
The Rad Wife

How pretty! Just, all of it! I'm so jealous of those Appalachian Mountains right now.

Your pictures made me want to get to the Smoky Mountains. It looks absolutely beautiful, however the story of the mountain men would give me nightmares πŸ™‚

You were in my neck of the woods! I've still never gone to Clingman's Dome but now would probably be a good time, though I don't think I'd want to be there at dark! This past week has been absolutely gorgeous.

What a beautiful fall in TN! I don't blame you for wanting to get outta there as fast as possible. Those guys sound super sketchy!!

I mean, you met some interesting people and some of the trip sounds a little terrifying but the pictures you took are incredible!

Laura Aime Vous

What a fun adventure! Meeting the backwoods folk sounds like something straight out of a movie.
I would love to go fall camping.

I would LOVE to camp but like you, I know what my imagination is like. I doubt I would get much sleep. But those views are incredible!

Amazing pics but you wouldn't get me sleeping in a tent, just saying

SO beautiful! This is why October is the best month ever. I want to go sleep in a tent now!

You sure do have a pretty mouth! *cue the banjo music* Also, in the summer you can go swimming at Cummings Falls. My husband took our daughter out there this past summer and she jumped off the ledge! He said the hike was a little tougher then he was expecting but she did it.

These pictures remind me again why I love fall so much! I am not much of a camper myself but at least you got to see pretty things πŸ™‚

such a gorgeous view! I don't camp, but you might have just convinced me to if I can wake up to that!!

I don't camp, but your pictures are gorgeous so I choose to live vicariously through them.

It's so beautiful! I miss the foliage on the East Coast.

I don't love camping so props to you but I do LOVE Tennessee. Your pics are gorgeous!!

What a gorgeous view from the tent! We have plans of camping in November (and I hate the cold!) and I can't wait. I love anything to get outside, even if that means sucking it up and bundling up haha! Looks like we will need to take a visit to Tennessee in the fall to get the full fall experience!

Nashville won't have foilage quite that vibrant, but we usually start to get more color a week or two after the Smokies do. It's one of my favorite things about living here!

We went to The Smokies when I was a teenager, only we had no idea how long the Blue Ridge Parkway was — and that you couldn't get off once you got on — so we ended up driving all day at around 15mph around the twists and turns!

And those mountain men sound scary…I'd be so scared. No wonder you ran so fast! πŸ™‚

Melissa | So About What I Said

These pictures are absolutely breathtaking! So, so pretty!

EEEK! I've never been camping and I think you basically nailed all the reasons why. But on the flip side, where else would you find such gorgeous views to wake up to?

Those fall colors are amazing! I grew up camping all the time but I was always terrified that something was going to happen to me in the middle of the night. And yay waterfalls!

ohhhh my goodness why didn't eat the apples?! haha that's terrifying but hot dang those views were worth it. so absolutely gorgeous!

These pictures are STUNNING! We have no fall foliage in Arizona and it's really making me so sad; so I'm glad I can live through your adventures!

xo, Chelsie @ Life with Rosie

One of my friends lives in Knoxville and she is always telling me how gorgeous the Smoky Mountains are. Your photos are stunning! I also would be totally freaked out by the creepy mountain men..eek!!!

Man, your description of the mountain men was so good… I feel like I've seen them at the Walmart in East Knoxville before?

Ugh. Those pictures are to diiiiie for. Love them so much!! Looks like a great time!

I am afraid that people are hiding in my shower behind the curtain so I don't know if i could handle sleeping in the woods hahahaha but those views are incredible!

Ahhh! I would have been the same and decided the mountain men were out to kill us. Because duh, that's what mountain men do.

The fall leaves though….amazing!!! I'm still trying to convince myself that it is actually fall somewhere out there in the world since it's not looking like that here yet.

I'm really loving all of the photos because fall looks absolutely breath-taking in TN! xx, adaatude.com

So this is some of the most gorgeous scenery ever!!

Eeek, I'm with you on the scary movies. The previews is all it takes. Looks like an absolutely incredible weekend in the woods. So glad to be getting to see Tennessee through your blog. Hope you're loving it. Just have to convince the boy to go with me now xx

The foliage looks gorgeous! So jealous!

PS- Where did you get that awesome sweater! I love that outfit!

Chels @ Red Velvet Rooster

Gosh you make Nashville and camping look even more appealing. I bet Gatsby would LOVE to join Hugo and Millie for a run through the woods! I love all the fall colors and serenity, too!! xoxo

I'm totally green with envy… all the trees here are still green or very slightly colored. Nothing like what you have there! So jealous, but lovely pics!!

Emma | Seeking the South

I must say, I am so jealous of those gorgeous fall colors. I know they are coming soon in Texas though because I saw lots of red leaves in the trees this morning, can't wait for them to all turn! Thanks for sharing such beautiful pics! Loved the interview with you too πŸ™‚

Alexis @ http://www.chemistrycachet.com

My southern California heart is longing for Fall leaves like that!!! I so wish I lived somewhere that has seasons!

That's so random that those mountain men wanted to hang out with you, I guess you could chalk it up to "southern hospitality," but we're not like that in Texas. And that fall foliage is absolutely gorgeous! I would sleep in a tent if I was guaranteed that view in the morning!

I was on the edge of my seat as you were telling your story!! Yeah, I don't camp. Period. But I also think it was smart you brought both doggies! Glad you didn't get attacked by the apple crew. πŸ™‚ Gorgeous photos, love the one from your tent.

XO Chelsea http://www.shesaidhesaidfashion.com/

Oh my goodness those views are amazing!

This is why I don't camp. Or watch scary movies. I'm more into renting a cabin in the mountains instead. But the fall is beautiful around here. Also, those guys totes knew you were scared, thus the "Don't let the woods get ya." Haha! Welcome to Tennessee!

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