Pics from the Smoky's!

Over the New Year, Karel, Campy and I had the opportunity to stay with our friends James and Jennifer Sweeney (at their cabin) in the Smoky's. If you are looking for a great get-a-way, with plenty of nature to keep you (and your camera) busy, Bryson City is A-mazing. Check out this rental, which James and Jennifer rent out. What a VIEW!!!

Despite the quick drop in temps as we made our 8-hour drive up North, I managed to stay comfortably warm (and in style) in my awesome clothing from the Oakley Women Gretchen Bleiler winter 2010 collection.

The fresh mountain air made for 4 exceptional good-night sleeps and I greatly enjoyed waking up to no alarm and with no plans. Purposely leaving my garmin watch behind, I welcomed a change of pace and no set schedule.

The two highlights of the weekend included me getting a mountain bike for the first time. Oh, and I rode it as well :)

Karel has been wanting me to try mountain biking for some time and although, in my head, I feel like I am a great mountaing biker ('cause it looks so fun!) I have always been a little scared to try it. Well, there was no better time than in the Smoky's, with Karel to give me pointers, to ride a mountain bike.

For over an hour, I climbed over 7 miles..up, up, and up. I had no choice but to quickly learn how to change the gears and to pedal quicker than I have ever pedaled before. Towards the top, I started to enjoy myself but as the road got steeper and steeper, I knew what was waiting for me at the turn around.

I told Karel, James and Jennifer (all experienced cyclists and MTBers) to wait for me at the bottom. SLOOOOOWLY, I made my way down the mountain. It was a lot colder going down and I quickly realized that you don't notice the puddles and wet spots on the way up, as you do on the way down.
Finally, I made it to the car and the gang was there waiting for me. Happy to be back at the car, I would say that with no falls, my first experience MTBing was a success and I look forward to doing it again.

The second highlight of the trip was hiking on the Tsali trail. Karel had gone MTBing earlier that morning in Tsali and wanted to take Campy and me to do some hiking. Without thinking as to how much/long we would hike, the scenery was beautiful and it was hard to notice time. Despite the sun beginning to set, Campy was our leader and a super-trooper for our hike. With around 7 miles and close to 2 1/2 hours of hiking, Campy earned his nap on the way back to the cabin. Karel and myself were so impressed with Campy as he didn't complain at all, during the entire hike. We just love that little guy!

I hope you enjoy the pics!