Amazingly, Timothy's emergency family leave from the Marines has evolved into three months of paid leave (of which two months are left) because there is no slot available for him to work at the local recruiting station. He asked me if I would like to go somewhere before the chemotherapy/radiation begins, so off we went to Gatlinburg for a few days last week-end. I was delighted that I (slooowly) managed to hike the Laurel Falls Trail, which is 2.6 miles round-trip. It was rainy and the fog was really moving in on the trail and it was just gorgeous.
Reaching the Falls:
We had some tasty meals, at Pancake Pantry, which has been in Gatlinburg since 1960, oh the nostalgia:
and The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe, which has one of those great menus where you want one of everything and the meals are served on their own handmade pottery. The building used to be a potter's house. I can remember when the large old mill next to it was literally the only thing in Pigeon Forge; oh, how times change. We stayed at a different motel each of the two nights; the first motel, Zoder's, was one I had never stayed at but had always intended to try sometime. It was fabulous, right on the babbling creek of course, with complimentary wine and cheese at 6 and cookies and milk at 8, and the most comfy beds ever. There was a small indoor pool with a waterfall, exercise equipment, and our room had a view of one of the log cabin cottages that looked quite authentic.
It snowed the final night, so here are a few parting pictures of that gorgeous scene. Brutal reality now looms, with the first chemotherapy scheduled for next Friday. Appointment yesterday, training session this morning, pet scan / mammogram / port installation TBA, chemotherapy pills, chemotherapy IV, shot to stimulate white blood cell creation, apparently hundreds of visits to the cancer center, and the challenge of maintaining the job through all of this. You aren't going to believe this next part. Timothy offered to work as a volunteer (normally parents are volunteers) in my place at such times that I can't be there, something that he can easily do since my job duties at the new school are considerably simpler than my duties have been at the previous schools, since there are two other librarians besides me. So I am going to show him what to do later today after the training session at the cancer center. Is this a good boy or what?
One of these mountain peaks is Mt. le Conte, which you may remember we have hiked a few times and stayed overnight in the cabins on the tippy-top:
And it's off for home...