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.  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,  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.  

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!

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