– TREK TUESDAY –
After having a pretty wonderful time in Washington DC it was time to move on and head to the next destination, where the adventure was going to get even better and turn to a slight adrenaline rush – not once as we predicted but twice.
Trek America – Tennessee & White Water Rafting
We were heading to the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, where the white water rafting will take place – on the Pigeon River.
But first, our tour leader (Erin) being as cool as she is, made sure our journey didn’t get too boring and took us to the most surreal and cool attraction so far.
After a short hike uphill in the middle of nowhere, we saw FOAMHENGE.
Who knew there is a full size replica of Stonehenge all the way in America, made entirely out of styrofoam.
This trip was getting more interesting every single day, no joke. The shockingly realistic look of the sculptures, the surroundings and little signs made the experience quite mystical and one that will surely stick with us for a long time. I mean.. how did someone even got the idea to do this. Absolutely amazing.
After agreeing on how much the replica looks like the real thing, laughing at the humorous signs and wondering if Mark Cline – the foam genius, is watching us (sign below) we headed to the car and made our way to Tennessee.
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We stopped in what has to be one of the nicest locations to relax and have a (not so) little munch.. just look at the picture above. It was all fun and laughter until I realised my knee was touching something underneath the table. Yup, it was a spider – definitely not a little one either. So with my arachnophobia kicking in, I screamed and jumped up resulting in falling backwards as my legs trapped themselves between the bench and the table.
Finding another spot on the other side of the bench, I looked up and realised we’re surrounded by them. But it’s fine.. I aim to learn bravery from this life changing trip and I will not be a failure.
I concentrated on the scenery, groups conversation and the delicious lunch that consisted of our favourite ingredients – tortilla bread, ham, cheese and a platter of veggies and fruit. It was all quite perfect.
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Once crossing the border to Tennessee, we found out a preeetty interesting and exciting thing (which later might not be so much). Tennessee is one of the states in which the fireworks are completely legalised, unlike New York for example where not even sparklers are allowed.
This was made very clear quite quickly, after seeing little fireworks stands and shops everywhere. However, what we saw next was absolutely next level..
One of the Worlds Largest Fireworks Supermarket
I’ll be honest with you and say it straight – I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks as I don’t fully trust them – so as you can imagine I was slightly uneasy when entering this one big explosive (I like to be slightly dramatic sometimes).
The choices were endless, I mean – anything from the ‘500 Grams Cosmic Collision’ to ‘Saturn Missile 100 Shot’ if this means anything to any of you. We all chipped in to get a variety – which resulted in a big stash for little money. I personally also got a small collection of sparkles (absolutely wild, I know).
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Erin managed to get us a sweet camping spot just next to the river, literally! We set up our tents and could not believe our eyes. The breathtaking scenery was something I’ve only seen on pictures previously, this was my first time in the mountains. I could only imagine what it will feel like waking up in the morning and as strange as it sounds – I couldn’t wait to open up the tent and see the stunning river views with nothing but nature around us.
The campsite consisted of wooden huts where we got special treatment and got to use one just for ourselves. One of the groups cooked while the rest was occupied with the other tasks.
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It was time for the fireworks. It took a lot of us to carry our collection over to the right (and safe) spot. We then went for it – setting them off in little groups of two or three for the extra safety and made quite a show. Some were ridiculously disappointing but others were incredible.
Then Our Adrenaline Levels Went Over Us..
When getting to the end of our stash, we were ready for the next spectacle when all of a sudden the fireworks started shooting sideways. One went towards the river, that’s when we all started running – panicked I run towards the bushes with few others. That’s when the next one flew towards Lucy who was thankfully grabbed by one of the guys and the third towards the bushes that we were running to. Everyone doing the best they can to hide, panicked and scared we waited for it to end.
When it was over, we checked if everyone is okay and realised we can’t see Rachel.. until her head popped out of the bushes, there she is – all covered in mud. She was once hit by a firework resulting in her panicking so much that she jumped in a massive puddle of mud, so big that she managed to lose a shoe in it. After laughing for ages we calmed down a bit and headed back to the wooden hut.
I guess this just reminded us that even when you’re extra careful, you still cannot have a full control over what happens. Now my trust to fireworks is even smaller. Oh yh, there was no sign of Rachels shoe anywhere.
The unlucky firework
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Night to Remember
This was a night that will for sure stay with us for a long time, after the firework incident – we played our beloved red cups games, laughed, drank, and sang our hearts out (minus myself as my ability to remember lyrics is non-existent). I can’t even tell you what time we headed to bed but it was super late.
This was also the first day which we managed to find a liquor store, as there is some kind of a surreal rule not allowing shops to sell alcohol on Sundays and on other days all that we could find was mainly beer, which is not what us girls were wishing for.
Once we did find one.. you can’t even imagine the variety of spirits they had. As I’m a massive fan of Malibu, that’s what I will use as an example of flavours to show you – passion fruit, pineapple, tropical, banana, Hawaiian, red, black, spiced and who knows what else. I went with the melon – this is going to be amazing.
$16.49.. what an absolute bargain too.
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In case you’re wondering, those are not my legs 😛
White Water Rafting
I was right to be looking forward to waking up in the morning (minus the slight hangover). Seeing the view from the tent and smelling the fresh air was beautiful. We had breakfast, took the tents down and headed for the white water rafting..
Now, you may remember that I can’t swim – but I didn’t want that to stop me from having what may be once in a lifetime experience. However it still took a lot of convincing and seating on the bus in out life jackets, listening to the prep talk scared the hell out of me.
I will most likely fall out – what the hell am I thinking.
Concentrating on the fact that most of the water is not so deep and trying to forget about the other parts – I went for it. We got divided into two groups, were introduced to our guide and headed to the river.
And what a great experience it was!
I managed to not fall out and enjoyed it so much that I can’t even explain. It wasn’t as scary and the fact that there were a lot of boats one after the other made it less terrifying – in case of someone falling out, there were a lot of people to help.
The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and the guide being really chilled and funny somehow made the experience even quite relaxing at some points. If you ever get a chance to do this – don’t think twice. I promise you that as long as the guide knows what their doing and the conditions are safe and in good standards – you will have an unforgettable adventure.
As decided on the very first day of trek – instead of Alabama City we will next be heading to..
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Rachel covered in mud
Yup, they won.
Just look at the views <3
Smoky Mountains – you were a pleasure <3