We joined Wild + Free Great Smoky Mountains last August and it has been a great experience. These other homeschooling families may have different approaches and convictions, but we all respect each other and find common ground.
If nothing else, nature unites us. We can all find many things to discuss about the natural things we run into. Then, we talk about food. Some of them have older children, who have gone to college, so we talk about that. I always have lots of questions about scholarships, test prep, and the college atmosphere. Religion is another thing we can discuss, as long as we deal in generalities. We stay away from politics – it seems like this topic has gotten more volatile than ever in our country.
The latest destination we hiked was Meigs Creek Trail and The Sinks. When you drive toward Cades Cove in the National Park, you will see the parking lot on the left. I actually remember when they were working on enlarging the lot and the viewing platform.
The Sinks are man-made waterfalls from the time when timber companies were floating logs down the river. Meigs used to be a Revolutionary War Colonel and an agent to the Cherokee Nation. Neat stuff. I like learning history as well as natural history through these hikes.
We did not finish the hike that day because one of my friends brought really small children along and we had to turn around sooner than the rest of the group. But we saw enough and loved the trail and the falls. This woodpecker sat on a tree branch above our heads for a long time and we could observe it for a full three minutes.
The kids wanted us to come back as a family so they can swim in that river. Not close to the falls, where people have drowned due to the strong current, but further away, where the river flows nicely.