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Trip 14: Mountain Majesty

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There is a reason the word “Great” is in the Great Smoky Mountains. They are truly beautiful and majestic… whether you are seeing them from a summit or overlook, or in one of the small towns they envelop. Bryson City is known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a small town that offers plenty of BIG adventures. Home to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, the town takes full advantage of its location and the stunning landscapes that surround it.

Along with zip lines, tubing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and other outdoor options, it has one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world with four rivers, and dozens of mountain streams, and Fontana Lake. In fact, we noticed The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians right on Main Street, across from the Swain County Visitor Center.

Our trip included a horseback ride, a treetop bath at the 18 and up resort Lakeview at Fontana , and a hike to an abandoned plane crash at nearby Waterrock Knob. Oh, and how could I forget getting lost on the Road to Nowhere (hint: you know you are lost when you see a wild boar trap!) You can watch the adventure here!

I have to say that was the first time I watched the sunset naked! In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel soaking in a tub in the middle of an open-air treehouse. 

Would I be so self-conscious that I couldn’t be present in the moment? 

The room was beautiful… candles, bath salts, lush towels. Why did I feel silly?

The bugs outside had begun their evening serenade. 

My body isn’t perfect. I’ve lashed out at her over the years for eyelashes that weren’t thick enough. For arms that were too thick. For a belly that changed permanently after my daughter was born. For a hip that sometimes hurts in the mornings.

I closed my eyes and listened to my breathing, drowning out the negativity in my head. 

I focused on all the good my body has done.

  • This body naturally birthed a beautiful baby with the energy of 1000 warrior women it would take to raise her.
  • It rises time and time again from the ashes.
  • It gives really great hugs.
  • It’s carried me across the finish lines of amazing hikes I wasn’t adequately prepared to complete.
  • It has the boundless energy required to explore every new city it visits.
  • This body works purposefully hours longer than a body my age should have to every day.

Slowly I felt my body relax and my gratitude rise.

Such small changes in my thinking made such a big difference in the way I will remember this experience.

When I got out of the tub I stood a little more proudly. I didn’t rush to get dressed. I sipped on my wine until the sun dipped behind the Great Smoky Mountains and then this body walked back to the cabin in the near dark. Unafraid. Ready to kick ass another day.