All About April (Part 4)–Fri, April 25 to Wed, May 7, 2014

Continuing our Two Week Stay at River Plantation, Sevierville, TN
00 - April Travel Map
                                 A – Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
                                 B – Buck Hall Recreation Area, McClellanville, South Carolina
                                 C – Magnolia RV Park and Campground, Kinards, South Carolina
                                 D – River Plantation RV Resort, Sevierville, Tennessee

(D) Wed, April 30 to Wed, May 7th – River Plantation RV Park, Sevierville, TN

For the next 5 days, Wed to Sun, we attended the RV-Dreams Educational Rally.  Truth be told, Bill attended the Rally and I only went to a few sessions but didn’t miss any of the meals or entertainment;o))  This is our third educational rally (we're slow learners) and I only went to the sessions that were new.  Since Bill rarely takes photos, I am putting links to Howard’s Blog for each day so I have a record of what was covered. 

Wednesday, April 30th, RV-Dreams Rally Day 2
Thursday, May 1st, RV-Dreams Rally Day 3
Friday, May 2nd, RV-Dreams Rally Day 4
Saturday, May 3rd, RV-Dreams Rally Day 5
Sunday, May 4th, RV-Dreams Rally – Farewell Breakfast

On Friday, May 2nd, we skipped school and went hiking ;o)) 
When I checked with the ranger about our Appalachian Trail hike, I also asked her about a hike to a place called The Sinks.  She smiled and said it really wasn’t a GSMNP sanctioned hike, but she gave me the directions anyway. She told me it is actually called Whiteoak Sink and it would be absolutely beautiful this time of year.  Apparently it is known for being home to many different wildflowers!!!

To reach Whiteoak Sink you must hike out the Schoolhouse Gap Trail about a mile.

We drove through the Townsend entry to GSMNP and made a right onto Laurel Creek Road.

The Schoolhouse Gap Trailhead is on the right about half way to Cades Cove.
00 - Schoolhouse Gap and White Oak Sinks Trail Map
Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.

00a - Schoolhouse Gap Trailhead 00b - Schoolhouse Gap Trail along the creek00c - Schoolhouse Gap Trail - heading uphill 00d - Schoolhouse Gap Trail - Horse Hikers

Just past the junction with the Turkeypen Ridge Trail,
00f - Schoolhouse Gap Trail - Turkeypen Ridge Trail Junction
there is an unmarked trail which leads down to Whiteoak Sink.
This is the unmarked Trail to Whiteoak Sink.01 - Unmarked trail to White Oak Sinks
Click HERE for a link to a wonderful description of the Sinks and the Wildflowers.
This is a map showing the 3 trails:
Schoolhouse Gap, Turkeypen Ridge and Whiteoak Sink.

01c -  White Oak Sinks - mapWe were warned to pay attention to where we were once we reach the Sinks.
There are many small, narrow and windy trails. Apparently people get lost here;o((
One of the trails to the right leads you to Falls Cave.
01e -  White Oak Sinks - fork to right to the Falls Cave
The water falls over the rock ledge into a deep cave below.
01e2 -  White Oak Sinks - Falls Cave     01e3 -  White Oak Sinks - Falls Cave Closeup
Our next stop was the Blow Hole Cave.
We met some people there that we would later learn had a connection to this area.01f -  White Oak Sinks - Approaching Blow Hole Cave
Click on any photo to enlarge
01f2 -  White Oak Sinks - Blow Hole Cave 01f3 -  White Oak Sinks - Blow Hole Cave Bat Sign
There were two more trails to explore, but they will have to wait until next time.
We were at the END OF THE TRAIL and needed to start back.
01f4 -  White Oak Sinks - Blow Hole Cave - End of Trail
We met some folks at the Blow Hole Cave.  On our way back, we met again and chatted for a few minutes.  They are ancestors of Abraham Law an original settler of Whiteoak Sink.  They were on this hike today to locate Abraham Law’s grave marker which they found.
02 - White Oak Sink - Abraham Law's Descendents

02b - Abraham Low Gravestone - from Internet
Abraham Law moved to Blount County with his wife and their children to a parcel of land in White Oak Sink sometime after 1820.

The gentleman in the ball cap is a Great Great Nephew and the woman is a Great Great Great Grand-daughter of Abraham Law!!
Approaching the Schoolhouse Gap Trailhead and the end of a WONDERFUL hike!!
03 - Approaching Schoolhouse Gap Trailhead - The End
This was not a long hike,
so why didn’t we have time to explore the other two trails???
Can you say “WILDFLOWERS!!!”
I have never seen so many wildflowers in one place in my life.   I cannot begin to describe all the different types or even begin to know their names.  I’ve tried to identify many, but I’m not sure they are correct.  So I will just let you enjoy the pictures.  But I would recommend this hike near the end of April or early May to see the beautiful wildflowers in person!!
Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Bleeding Heart
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Columbine
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Little Brown Jug
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Jack-In-The-Pulpit     04 - Spring Wildflowers - Jack-In-The-Pulpit - There's Jack
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Pink Lady Slippers
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Squawroot not blooming yet
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Sweet Betsy     04 - Spring Wildflowers - Shooting Star
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Wild Ginger
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Robin's Plantain     04 - Spring Wildflowers - Star Chickweed
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Trillium - Catesby's - beginning to turn pink04 - Spring Wildflowers - Trillium - Catesby's04 - Spring Wildflowers - Trillium - Painted04 - Spring Wildflowers - Trillium - White04 - Spring Wildflowers - Trillium - Yellow04 - Spring Wildflowers - Trillium -Wake Robin
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Turks Cap Lilies
04 - Spring Wildflowers - Wild Geranium
04 - Spring Wildflowers - X4 - can't ID
05 - Spring Wildflowers and Butterflies 3
Nature Is Amazing!!!

On Monday, May 5th, we went hiking to Grotto Falls with Howard and Linda!! 
We wanted to take one more hike before we leave tomorrow.  Howard and Linda wanted to join us, but they had to weigh some departing rigs early in the day.  So we just picked a shorter hike and planned to go when they were finished. 
Normally, I carry two cameras. I wear shoulder straps to carry my Nikon D3000 with a zoom lens for great wildlife close-ups. My Panasonic Lumix, fits in my pocket or fanny pack and takes nice landscape photos.  I decided NOT to carry my big Nikon today as we really have seen very little wildlife.  Can you say “BIG MISTAKE!!!”   Yep, we had a wonderful bear sighting and I didn’t have the right camera…darn;o((  But better yet, I brought along Howard and Linda who not only took wonderful photos of the bears and our hike, but got video also:o))  So I am just going to link to Howard’s post of a SPECTACULAR bear sighting and a lovely hike with friends:o))

Here are the few shots I took and a couple with Howard in the picture!!

Click on any photo to enlarge or hover your mouse on any photo for a description.
04 - Just Too Special05 - Come Down Here Right Now06 - I'm Coming, I'm Coming07 - Hey, Wait For Me
09 - Bill and Howard08 - Linda, Howard, Bill and nancy
A Great Day With Good Friends :o))

On Tuesday, May 6th and Wednesday May 7th,

we headed back toward Huntington Beach, SC.

We have had a terrific time here with so many wonderful RV-Dreams friends.  It is so much fun to meet up with like-minded people and enjoy laughing and learning together!!  But we needed to head back to the beach today. 

But first, we were getting weighed…the rig, not us;o)) 
Turns out Baby needs to go on a diet or get a bit more exercise!!  We were way underweight on both sides in the front and on the back passenger side, but our back drivers side was about 250 pounds overweight:o((  Have to see what we can adjust to fix that.  Thank goodness we didn’t order the washer and dryer which are supposed to be on that side!! 
We will make some adjustments and then get weighed again to see if we have fixed the issue.  But glad to know we have an issue that can be fixed before it causes a problem!!

After hugs and see ya’ laters, we headed back to Magnolia RV Park for one night. On Wednesday, we finished the trip to Huntington Beach SP in Murrells Inlet, SC.  We will be here and in the Carolinas until June 25th when we run away from the beach crowds for the summer!!