Night Hike at Clingmans Dome

Once a year, our hiking club goes to Clingmans Dome at night, in May. The leader chooses a day with a full moon. This year, it just so happened there was also a lunar eclipse. We arrived at 8:10pm and stayed until about 11:30pm, when the clouds eclipsed the eclipse.

Full moon at Clingmans Dome

Full moon at Clingmans Dome

As we left the higher altitudes and got back into Gatlinburg, the moon became visible. No clouds covered the event anymore. Thus, we were able to see the most exciting part of the eclipse as we drove back home. I did not take any pictures of the eclipse, unfortunately. It was very difficult to do so from a moving car.

Please note that the temperature at Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, is about 30 degrees lower than in Downtown Gatlinburg. Dress accordingly. So many times, we get to the parking lot at the Dome and we see tourists in flip-flops, shorts, and T-shirts, walking around wrapped in their blankets. They did not even bring a jacket.

Sunset at Clingmans Dome

Sunset at Clingmans Dome

We do this night hike because it is magical plus we want our children to have amazing memories of being in nature. Researchers are sounding the alarm these days about Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) and we all must heed the warning.

Duolingo at the Dome

Duolingo at the Dome

Since we started our obsession (or addiction?) to Duolingo, my children’s new motto has been, “I don’t want to lose my streak.” As midnight was approaching that night at Clingmans Dome, my daughter remembered she had not even done one lesson in Duolingo that day. So here she is, pulling her phone out at the Dome, doing Duolingo. She is studying Romanian.

Get your children outside as much as humanly possible. Hike, swim, camp, play ball outside, jump rope, etc – just get them out of the house. They reap so many health benefits for their minds and bodies.

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