I am very fortunate to live near a wonderful lady who has started planning trips just for women. I went on my first trip this past Sunday. I am also blessed to live very near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a spectacular park! One area of the park is Cades Cove. The cove was a community nestled in the mountains up until the government made the area into the park. So yes, my very first one of these trips was in my own backyard.
Now this may not seem too exciting. Yes, I've been to Cades Cove a bazillion times in my life. Honestly I have never tired of going. I do get aggravated with tourists, but that's a story for another time. These trips she plans are secret adventures. At least they're a secret for those of us who attend. Though we went to a place I have been many times before, we stopped at places I didn't know existed until Sunday.
How can that happen you may ask... It's really pretty easy to miss things in a place such as the cove. It is an 11 mile loop with a couple cross-roads that cut across if you want to shorten your trip. There are several churches and homesteads. The national park was established just over 75 years ago. When that happened, Cades Cove was all farmland. Now it is mostly forested with some fields. Many of the homesites are now hidden by the trees and undergrowth. The families who lived in the cove were given time to leave. The last residents were allowed to stay to keep cattle in the cove to maintain the fields. Sadly, they are gone now too. I'll date myself and tell you I can remember when the cows were there.
This particular trip was to show us how to look at things from a new or different perspective. We were given a short crash-course on wildlife photography and then we were off. Our instructor is a professor from Maryville College. He teaches biology as well as wildlife photography. He's all teacher! He is definitely passionate about what he does and obviously loves to teach and share his knowledge. He led us where he takes his students in Cades Cove.
I had an absolute blast on this little trip. I met new people, learned new skills, found new places to explore in a place I thought I knew, and I stepped out of my comfort zone. I'm fairly introverted so putting myself in a situation where I don't know anyone is not something I do often. But it was a small group and we were in a place I adore. So from this experience I would encourage you all to step out into your own backyard, be it literally your backyard or somewhere close by like a park, and see if you can find a fresh perspective.
**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links and/or links to outside sites. By clicking on an affiliate link it is at no cost to you and helps run/maintain this blog. Posts for reviews are my own opinions and no additional compensation is given unless otherwise stated. Giveaways on this blog are under the discretion of the host of the giveaway.