As we planned our trip to Tennessee, we knew that we wanted to add some extra days on to the end of the conference dates to enjoy just being a family together. We had three choices: 1) Stay in Nashville and explore further, 2) Go to Memphis or 3) Drive east and visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We chose 3 for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that Jake has decided he wants to visit every National Park in the county….which would make his Great Grandfather proud. We had also heard of the great beauty of the Smoky Mountains and I really wanted to see it for myself. It is beautiful, to be sure. And, we learned all about how and when the Smokies were formed (before the dinosaurs!) and why they came to inhabit over 1000 species of plants and animals….many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. But, I found myself being a tad disappointed and I couldn’t really figure out why. And, then it hit me. I already LIVE in one of the most beautiful places in the country. I get to see amazing beauty every day. When Mt Rainier is painted majestically against a brilliant blue Northwest sky, it never fails to take my breath away. And, it took me a while to appreciate even this….because I grew up in Colorado…where from the top of Gold Hill Ridge (12,725 ft) in Telluride, you can see the red rocks of Utah. I almost found myself snickering when I heard that the highest peak in the Smokies is a mere 6,600 feet. But, then I learned that they are perhaps the oldest mountains in the world…formed 200-300 million years ago. It’s mind-blowing to think about. I started to try and imagine what they looked like back then. Maybe they were similar to my beloved San Juans, who are mere babies in comparison (formed about 30 million years ago). It tells me that God is continually creating and recreating…and what an amazing artist He is!
San Juan Mountains (Wilson Peak)
Great Smoky Mountains