After moving closer to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
Jay and I are enjoying some of the shorter hikes it has to offer.
This past weekend we hit the Little River Trail in Elkmonk,
and Jay spent the whole time wishing he had his fly fishing rod.

Elkmont is one of the more unique places in park. 
Its typically hailed as the best place to watch the synchronized fireflies in the summer. 
(Yes it does sound lame. However, it is actually cool.) 
It also was a summer retreat back in the day. 

These cabins are now owned by the park, vacant with “no trespassing” signs up. 
(See the red, white, and blue sign below.)

Its kinda cool to see what rich-folk considered vacation homes 100 years ago. 

On to the hike!! The trail connects with other parts of the park, as many do, 
but the Little River trail itself is just 2. miles

Cucumber Gap is a wide, gravely dirt path which follows the water for most of the trail. 
Most of the trails this wide were once logging roads, so that’s my guess for this one as well.
Compared to Ramsay’s or Rainbow, this falls isn’t very big, 
but definitely worth the stroll back to see it. 
Of course Jay and I had to make the hike a bit more epic by hiking up the sides.

Please don’t judge me wearing make-up. 
I went to church earlier in the day, and it was picture day for me.

 I’d officially joined the class the week before 

and the teacher warned me on Facebook she’d be coming after a snap of me. 
I’m normally a make-up-less worker outer.

At the Cucumber Gap trail intersection, the path loops around a different way to get back to the trail-head. Jay and I continued forward to the Huskey Gap junction and were treated with another water crossing for our trouble.

I tried to get all artsy-fartsy, but my lack of skill paired with a Walmart photo will only take me so far.
With plenty of daylight left, we decided to head to Cades Cove to see some wildlife.
The bear-jam on the way into the cove was the most exciting part of the afternoon.

The cub in the tree was hard to spot, even harder to snag a picture of.

Even without much to see once we hit the loop, 
a day in Cades Cove beats a day pretty much any where.
So far, these day trips into the National Park have been the only taste of vacation I’ve had all year. Are you planning any thing fun or exciting for the summer?