Dear Julie-A Letter from The Smokies

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetDear Julie,

It’s great to be back in the Smokies. It’s refreshing to breathe this rich humid mountain air-quite different from the dry air we breathed in the Rockies together this summer.

This my family’s 12th year to camp here at Cades Cove, TN in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is a pretty large group of families that drive up from Birmingham, AL every year to camp here. The annual trip started when four couples in a Sunday School class long ago decided to start coming. It snowballed from there when they all grew up and they had children and their children had children. We started coming when one of the core families invited us-Roddy and Denise George.

We’ve made some good memories here.

The other night I couldn’t sleep as the wind pulled at the trees above my head. It reminded me of a time when I was here ten years ago when me and Wolf were just pups. A storm with that same wind kept us up all night and caused trees to groan, fall and slice campers just like ours into two pieces. Even the slightest breeze in the Cove takes me back to that time. Time is limited so I’ll tell you about it later.

We’ve made some good memories here.

I have Wolf with me. She quietly walks beside me everywhere I need to go. We don’t use a flashlight for our feet know these hills by heart.

Monday, I noticed one of her Dew Claws was twisted and bleeding so my mother and I drove down from the mountains and took her to a vet in Maryville, TN. I watched as four people held her flat against the floor and a veterinarian doctored her foot. She looked so small crushed against the floor like that. She cried out and it split my heart in two. But then it was over and her foot was on its way to healing.

Wolf is the very best of dogs. My siblings were ratting on her the other night as we were talking a night hike, saying how she wasn’t a fun dog and wasn’t that nice…I just smiled. She never complains when we walk or run for miles. When other dogs yip all day at both people and other dogs, she observes them with a quiet demeaner. True, she isn’t like other dogs that want to climb up into your lap and be petted all the time and when she does talk to other dogs, she tends to growl. But she knows me and knows that I’m her girl. “Well then. It is fortunate she is my dog and not yours.”

She knows me and knows that I’m her girl.

I’m still recovering from some 40 miles of mountain biking I did yesterday with my dad and Mr. Roddy George. At least half of that was climbing. We biked out of the Cove over Rich Mountain and down into town. The trek back is what killed for me.

My dad’s report of the trip on Strava.

We (me and the Fam) are in town right now doing laundry. We were in search of a place to take showers but friendly faces have turned sour and no one provides showers for those of us who primitive camp in the Cove for a week. I think my dad has resolved to as he says, “tote water” to our camper for us to make the best of a shower without running water. I myself have washed my hair in the sink at the campground bathhouse a couple of times already.

I’m sitting here at The Artistic Bean coffee shop. I discovered it here in town two years ago when I hitched a ride with my friends, the Redmonds, while they went to an Auto Parts store next door. I came in search of internet to update my instawebs.


There was a lady here who doesn’t work here anymore today. A local. She had long white hair and came and listened to me as I told her of my dreams to work on a movie set and for a radio station. It was people like her that year that helped me to do just those things.

The atmosphere here is really great. There’s an artist who paints and they play NEEDTOBREATHE, Chris Tomlin, and REND COLLECTIVE among others in the background while you enjoy the very best of a cup of coffee. It is places like these I wish I had more of in my life. I hope they survive many more years here in Townsend, Tennessee unlike so many others.

I must head back up into the mountains soon. I hope to make the best of the rest of the week that I am living here. Pray that I can overcome my quiet disposition and pride and take this great opportunity to discuss my dreams and listen to the great people I have the privilege of sharing a fire with.

As I walk every day with Wolf and occasionally listen to NEEDTOBREATHE’s HARD LOVE and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, I think about you and how we roomed together this summer and how we swapped our Chacos. Those were good times.

The mountains are calling. I’ll catch you on the flipside.




Photos subject to copyright.

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