Sarah rented a small cabin on the river just outside Dillsboro, NC. Dillsboro is a great small mountain town. They were having an illumination for Christmas. We walked around, went in all the shops, bought some xmas presents and some good candy/chocolate at a bakery. We both want to move here. We also visited Sylva and Franklin, 2 more great small towns nearby. We talked of downsizing, simplifying and moving somewhere between the 3 small towns that are all w/in 15-20 minutes of one another. Just beautiful.
When we walked down main street in Franklin, you could see mountains rising from either end. Again, just such a beautiful place.
Sarah and I hiked the Yellow Mountain Trail. It was an out and back to a fire tower with fantastic panoramic views. I loved this out and back because most hikes like this go up a big mountain to a view, then back down. So it's 5-7 miles up, up, up and 5-7 miles back down. This hike went up and over several mountains so the terrain was more varied. Enjoyed it very much.
10 miles, 5 hours (with lunch at the top soaking in the view)
We drove into Gatlinburg, TN to see the fire damage. Lots of homes and hotels burned down with fireplaces and a few brick walls the only thing still standing. The forest floor was black where the fire had gone through, but the trees looked fairly healthy for the most part. Hopefully it wall all come back in the Spring. Unfortunately, over 700 structures burned and those families are all displaced.
We hiked from Newfound Gap toward Clingmans Dome. Out 1:30 and back 1:15. About 7 miles. No great views, but real pretty forest. Cold and chilly.
7 miles, 3 hours.