October 3, 2022
We are back in Kodak, Tennessee for a few days. We had such a great time when we were here this summer that we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see more of the Smoky Mountains on our way south for fall and winter.
We stayed at Dumplin Valley RV Park again. The owner is very nice and his farm is beautiful. We got a different site this time. It’s “Tennessee level,” he told us. Glad to have the extra blocks for the stabilizers!
We searched out a dog friendly trail for our adventure yesterday. Interestingly, of the 800 miles of hiking trails in the Smokey Mountains only two trails are dog friendly. We ended up at the Oconaluftee River trail that is an easy 1.6 miles from the visitor center to Cherokee, NC.
This trail and visitor center is known for being a place where you can come across groups of Elk and we were lucky to see many of them.
On the way out, we saw this beautiful bull and several of his gang. Yes, a herd of elk is also called a gang. You will find out why at the end of this post. 🙂
Reba dipped into the river several times.
We hiked nearly into Cherokee when Timmy decided he could go no further. I cajoled and convinced and probably shamed him into going the next tenth of a mile into the adorable little town.
Right at the end of the trail is a beautiful bridge that delivered Timmy right to a little shop with a front porch and his favorite Boylan Creme Soda. He and Reba chilled on the porch while I checked out the adorable shops. I picked up some corn meal that was ground with an old grist mill right inside the shop.
We headed off on the 1.6 mile hike back. Reba enjoyed a few steps into the river several times and as we got close to the visitors center I heard a bull elk bugle.
As we got closer we saw not one, but two huge bull elk and their gang. One of the bulls hollered and hollered and then crashed across the trail and forest to cross the river.
Of course I grabbed for my phone to get a picture or video, juggled Reba’s leash, turned to get a shot aaannnnddd tripped over a rock, landing flat on my face. Good thing elk are not blood thirsty beasts because my nose and lip were gushing.
Dazed, I sat up, reminded Tim to grab the dog since there were BULL ELK nearby and once I regained my senses, I was able to make my way to the visitors center where a kind ranger got me some antiseptic wipes, gauze, a cold pack so I could make my way to a pharmacy.
After the shock of the bloody face wore off, I realized that I did slightly break my fall with my right wrist and knees. I’m pretty bruised and swollen all over, but I’ll heal –
And I DID get that short video of the bull elk crossing the river. You are welcome!