Anyone that has followed our other blog, Dudes Cook Too, knows that we love the Smoky Mountains. We even had the privilege of living there over the past year. It's always been a place to get away, and forget about your worries, relax, and renew yourself. We have family that lives there, and we always have the best time with them whether it be hiking, picnicking, or just spending time with each other.
Last April, we hiked to Mt. Leconte, one of the most popular hikes in the National Park. The trail we took was around 12 miles. These are our fearless family/hiking buddies. We had a great time, although I'm not sure any of us are ready for it again. It was definitely the most strenuous hike I've ever done, but I'm so glad we went.
When one goes to the Smoky's, there are certain rules that apply. Most importantly, calories don't count. That's a rule, right? It's my rule... that's for sure. With that being said, it's very important to pack the appropriate snacks.
These PERFECT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES will do fine. This my favorite cookie recipe, originally posted on Eat Live Run. Y'all, these are moist, chewy... life changing cookies. You should try them right now.
I don't know this dude... but that's not the point. The point is to always bring your Eno Hammock. Photo creds go to austinkayak.com, by the way. Don't have an Eno? Get one! My in-laws got me one for Christmas last year, and I love it!! You won't regret it. That's also a really cool cover for it also, that honestly, I didn't know existed until just now.
Not so much as a way to survive, but definitely a place you don't want to miss is Pancake Pantry. Seriously... GO. It's in Gatlinburg, and if you go during peak season, I'd suggest going around 7:00 am because the line will be a mile long by 9:00 am. This is my favorite place to eat in the Smoky's... other than Nany's Kitchen... but we'll get to that in a minute. I recommend trying the Peanut Butter Syrup, if you're a PB fan like myself.
I don't have a picture or a link for the last two survival tips, but they come from this cabin right here. This is Nany's cabin, one of my favorite places on earth. Every time we go see her, she always fixes a Smoky Mountain Breakfast, which consists of Biscuits, Bacon, Eggs, Grits... and usually syrup with peanut butter for the biscuits. Remember... calories don't count. It's a rule. This is a staple that I request all the time. I've always loved breakfast, but it just seems so much better there. Last, but not least, you need a peanut butter cake! Nany has her own recipe, but if you're going to make one, I suggest picking up the Joy the Baker Cookbook, and trying her Peanut Butter Birthday Cake. I just realized I talk a lot about peanut butter in this post. Maybe I should just put a picture of a jar of PB, and call it a day. Here's the deal on the Smokies. All the attractions are great... Dollywood, Ripley's Aquarium, but take some time to see what the Smokies are really all about, and that's nature. Take a drive through Cades Cove...it's a must.