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Autumn adventures: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Almost the whole of autumn has passed since my last post, but for good reason: I’ve been pre-occupied with taking advantage of every minute of my favorite months of the year! With my last mini-trip for the year over, I can finally sit down and catch up.

Every year, we go on a fall hiking trip to see foliage at its peak, but we always either go too early or too late. It’s still beautiful in its own way, but this November, I was determined to see peak fall foliage. Our destination was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and it was simply perfect. The fall foliage could not have been more beautiful in the valley. Up in the mountains though, the trees were already bare; quite the stark contrast, but we got to straddle the North Carolina and Tennessee state lines!

That wasn’t the only “two-in-one” deal we got this weekend. On the second day, instead of another day of foliage hiking, we were treated to our first snow of the season! And not just some sprinkles and light dust; this was serious overnight snowstorm that left behind a solid six inches of snow. That changed our plans a bit; the park was closed due to fallen branches, so we couldn’t do a hike. But the winter wonderland outside was so beautiful, we didn’t waste time begrudging the fickle weather and instead, threw on our layers and commenced a friendly (not) aerial swap of snowballs that ended in minimal (not) amounts of pain. We now also had time to explore the strange but charming town of Gatlinburg!

And that was my last trip of the year! It was a fun and crazy year of travels, perhaps a bit too much in fact (yes, there is such a thing!). But as always, no regrets.

Photos from a few other mini-trips:

Chicago in mid-October: Brrrr…

Shenanoah NP in late september

Photo credit: Luisa Tsang

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