A break from the boxes, at least.

We I did considerable work on the overseas outbound, purging the house of anything that neither sparked joy nor would be required to show to some government official at some future time. But still, unpacking is not as simple as opening a box and placing contents of said box in its proper new place. We have an overabundance of some proper places and an under-abundance of others, creating alternating moments of glee and despair whenever I open a carton.

(Oh, by the way #280 was located. Somehow the bookshelves for Jack’s bookcase had ended up numbered and put in a box labeled “Decorations” in the garage. Makes perfect sense.)

So when the weather finally became more seasonal I investigated CTF-friendly trails for a weekend wander in the nearby Great Smokey Mountains National Park. With 850 miles of trails in this park, certainly there have to be paths for the four-pawed, right?

It turns out that the GSMNP ain’t so dog-friendly. Just two short (less than 5 mile) paths are the scraps thrown to the dogs. The Sugarlands Visitor Center is at one end of the Gatlinburg “trail” and there are three additional trails that cross this Visitor Center, as well, so you can imagine the traffic lined along the GSMN Parkway on a sunny autumn weekend day at America’s 3rd most visited national park. I inquired as to why the short adjacent path to the waterfalls was not dog-friendly and was recited the, “it’s easier to ban dogs than change the culture” blah blah blah for the prohibition.

A few water entrances for CTF along this uninspiring trail and not much autumn color yet, though along the walk we came upon an old Appalachian cemetery and the chimney of a long ruined homestead. And plenty of four-pawed taking their owners out for the day.

The “Hiking and Schnitzeling” that we enjoyed in Austria is not replicable here in Appalachia, so extra planning is required to make certain no one has the hangries by the time the wander is over. I confess it’s a drag to have to pack a picnic when what we would prefer is to relax at a Hütte or Gasthaus with aforementioned Schnitzel and libations, but I will get over this in due time. I hope.

For the two of us it was packed sandwiches on a bench at the Visitor Center, alongside another family doing likewise. For the Hound, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, natürlich replaces the Pommes and bits of Schnitzel.

We may not have the hiking scene figured out, but we did have a Happy Hound at the end of the day.