Chalet ~ Day 1 ~ Day 2 ~ Day 3 ~ Day 4

Sunday we had to rise early and get packed and clean up the chalet before the 11am check out time. We were just in the nick of time and headed out on our last day of adventures. One of the things we had wanted to do on our trip was go to Cherokee, NC, but we decided to wait until on our way home to cut down on driving time since it’s in the direction of home. Cherokee is about an hour away from Gatlinburg, but it’s a beautiful, scenic drive with several opportunities to drive through some cool tunnels like the one you see below.

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Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC map

We had heard good things about Oconaluftee Visitor Center, so that’s where we first stopped to get information about Cherokee and walk around the Mountain Farm Museum.

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

I enjoyed reading about the different historical buildings on site. I especially had fun observing the hogs and chickens. While being entertained by them, Rob came over and said to look out to the field to the right. This is what I saw! The interstate at a stand still, while people stopped to look at this animal as he feasted.
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We got back in the car to get a closer look at this elk; such a beautiful creation of God.

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Here’s Drew about 50 feet away from him.
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I took video of this beautiful elk chowing down on some vegetation that I’ll post when I have a chance to go through my vids. What the pictures and video don’t show is the reason why this elk finally moved back into the thick of the woods. There were a bunch of us standing on the side of the road quietly observing him. 2 grown men began arguing and I’m not totally sure what it was about, but from what I could tell, one man was upset about where the other guy was standing. Their voices got so loud it began to disturb the elk and he moved on. All I could think about was how idiotic and selfish this was. There were lots more people that would have liked to have seen this animal. I know I was quite mesmerized by it never seeing something like it before.

From there we made our way to downtown Cherokee.
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We stopped at the Cherokee Museum. It was $10 a person, which I would have been ok paying except we had already paid $10/person to get into the Christ Museum and Gardens, back in Gatlinburg earlier in the trip. I would have rather gone to the Cherokee Museum. Oh well, there’s always next time, right?

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Next we drove a little ways to the Oconaluftee Village, which we found out was $19/adult and $11/children and it was going to take a couple hours to go through. We decided to forgo that and to walk through the Cherokee Botanical Gardens, which was free.
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We enjoyed reading about the ways the Cherokees use different plants for different medicinal reasons.

After leaving there, we drove a ways and stopped for lunch at Bojangles in Franklin, NC. Later, we saw signs to Tallulah Gorge State Park, where Rob and I thought we had been. Turns out we’ve been Tallulah Falls School, where we took pics of the falls way back before Alex was even thought of. We went inside the visitor center and got a map and some information. We decided to hike the North Rim Trail. We stopped at the first couple of overlooks. The nice lady in the visitor center told us about the 877 steps that you could take to make the loop, but since we had Daisy with us she couldn’t do it. No dogs allowed. In addition, my ankle had really been hurting all day.

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So Daisy and I sat at one of the overlooks, while Rob and the boys descended down all the stairs to get more beautiful views of the falls. This site had a good explanation of the area. Here‘s a map of the trails.

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Rob took the camera down with him and got some good shots.
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When Rob and the boys got back to the top where I was Rob wasn’t doing too well. Coming back up the 800+ stairs about killed him. I ended up having to drive for an hour or so until he could start to feel human again. After he asked me to pull over so he could puke and a few more minutes of cool air from the AC, he was ready to take over at the wheel. A few hours later we rolled into Auburn and another busy week awaited us at home!

See all the pics from Day 5 here.

More posts from Our 4th Annual 4th of July Trip:
{Day 1}
{Day 2}
{Day 3}
{Day 4}
{the Chalet}