Though we live at the foot of the Smoky Mountains, we don't get there as often as one might think. So Friday, I made a last minute proposal to Buck that our family head to Pigeon Forge for an overnight, and hike in the morning. We hit our favorite restaurant first, The Apple Barn, where the apple is king. The wait was an hour and a half as usual, so Buck took the children to the enormous barn gift shop while I listened to my book on CD. Forty minutes into the wait, Peace bounced up to the van and anounnced, "Come and eat." Apparently, the cute factor in Pooh Bear landed us an early table abandoned by a party of five. Confectioner's sugar coated apple fritters, apple butter, apple julips, country cooking, and desserts galore awaited. We found a cheap hotel with an indoor pool in which to swim. In the morning, there was a free carbohydrate festival in the hotel breakfast room. I kid you not, there was nothing but cereals and breads. Buck commented that the bagels must have been valu-time (our grocery's poor quality generic food label) rejects. I wouldn't have believed I could meet a bagel with cream cheese I didn't like, but I spit my first bite out into my napkin and went with off-brand fruit loops instead. After, my boys carb-loaded on cereal, toast, nasty sweet rolls, and oatmeal, we got on the road to find our hiking trail. We chose an easy path for Pooh Bear called Laurel Falls. The drought left the fall foliage lacking a touch the usual richness and variety of color. However, the majesty of the mountains didn't disappoint. With the crisp autumn air surrounding, the hovering rocks, fallen tree giants, laurels lining our walk, we took in the fresh orange and yellow morning. Along the trail, were several signs stating the danger of falling deaths which made my boys a little too curious about the edges of the cliffs for my comfort. They'd drag me to the side of the footway to stare down at a 100 foot sheer cliff and ask, "Mom, do you think someone died here?" My answer, "Yes, and I'd like it very much if we weren't the next fatality." It was quite a strange experience once we arrived at Laurel Falls. Yes, there was a water fall, but not with the normal rushing water one must shout above to speak. The drought had crippled her too, limiting her flow to more less a pouring stream rather than the forceful pounding beauty I'd remembered from the past. A wonder crossed my mind, "Is this how a desert begins when the world changes climate?" After the hike, we ate lunch with Buck and packed him off to work overtime. Three children begged for haircuts, and afterwards we headed home. All four helped with two chores and played the rest of the afternoon while I cleaned some more. I love a clean house for our Sabbath. Tater kept slipping in his socks on the tidy floors. Twice he fell within a few minutes, so I joked, "Tater, honey, I suppose your feet usually stick to the nasty floors around here. Perhaps it would be best if we never cleaned again, because washed floors do you in."