We're back from our week away. It was a beautiful (and long) drive winding through the mountains with the bikes in the back of the truck. We rented a log home nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains near Bryson City, North Carolina. In the cottage almost everything was wood, even the light fixtures, and all of the cushions, rugs, and beds were made of bear themed fabrics. The windows and patios looked out into the treed mountains with the only movement being that of soaring birds. We rode the Tsali trails everyday. They were in perfect condition, and were the best ones we have ever ridden. We had great weather, warm and sunny. The one day it did rain we hiked through the Joyce Kilmer Memorial forest and were surrounded by some of the largest trees I have ever seen- they were the 100 ft yellow poplars that inspired the poem Trees. We discovered the Nantahala Outdoor Centre close to our cottage, which became a favorite place to hang out, eat, or grab a drink by the river, with it's laid back community of hikers, bikers, and kayakers. We didn't want to leave. The second we did we already missed the sounds, the trails, the water, and the mountains. We wish we could have stayed so much longer.