Area offers several recreational opportunities

Published 6:00 am Friday, June 21, 2019

So school is out and summer is here and the family is still trying to come up with something fun to do.

Most people’s first inclination is to go to Pigeon Forge or Knoxville for a day or two of get-away time with their family.

The problem is that during this time of year the prices are inflating due to it being vacation season and spending that type of money makes no sense.

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Let me offer a solution where one can stay close to home and have fun with their family at the same time.

Carter County is blessed with resources that provide a family the opportunity to take in water fun, hike or bike a trail, and enjoy what the good Lord above has provided from a nature standpoint.

The bottom line of any vacation or time off is to sit back and relax with family and not be overwhelmed so that when the vacation is over, you are looking forward in going back to work to get a moment’s peace.

So, here are just some thoughts on recreational activities in our back yard.

– Go on a rafting trip down the Watauga River.

The waters of the Watauga provide a serene escape from the heat and humidity of summer and with several rafting guide companies at your disposal, why not get a group of family or friends together and splash some water on your float.

Another way of enjoying the river is via kayaking that has grown leaps and bounds as it is not uncommon to see several vehicles on the road with kayaks being transported to the local waterways.

With a nice picnic lunch and a waterproof camera, a day float is a perfect way to enjoy a summer day.

– Get on those bikes.

The area has several different options where a family can enjoy a day or two just riding the beautiful trails either in the hills and mountains or the downtown Tweetsie Trail that is more than ample to fill a day.

There also is the bike trail in the Hampton watershed that is beginning to gain a lot of attention.

– Go camping.

Now, I realize that not everyone likes bugs, but there is something about pitching a tent, gathering wood and building a campfire, and enjoying camping-style food from roasted hot dogs to the always-delicious smores and roasted marshmallows.

The most important thing is getting away from the noise of television, limited cell service, and all the other electronic gadgets and enjoy the beautiful surrounds.

Also, in the day we live, sometimes just being able to have communication with those we love engaging in talks and most importantly listening to one another is a side benefit that can’t be overlooked.

In addition, camping allows one to spend some alone time with their God.

-Go fishing.

It is unfortunate when one thinks that there are so many tourists that place Carter County on their summer places to visit due to the excellent fisheries that are provided for trout, smallmouth, and walleye, while local residents don’t even take time to wet a line.

Some of the best times growing up for me was sitting on the riverbanks during the summer with my grandfather shooting the proverbial bull and trying to snag a few fish for supper.

Again, it’s not about the fish you catch or didn’t catch, its about spending time with those you love while the streams go ebbing by.

Really, isn’t that what our spouses, kids and grandkids want anyway- our time.

-Go swimming.

With the Franklin Pool and the Roan Mountain State Park pools available, it is a lot more cost-effective to take a plunge at one of these swimming locations than to swim in a small hotel pool.

Take into consideration that the Franklin has a great splash pad and kiddie pool plus covered shelters and a family can have a big week just swimming and picnicking together.

I realize that I haven’t even scratched the surface, but as our readers can see, there are plenty of activities to engage in locally and have fun with the family.

I hear so many people that get stressed about vacations that even when the vacations are over there hasn’t been a moment of rest or relaxation due to the running and attempt at doing fun things as a family.

My recommendation- slow down and enjoy what you have here in your back door. Hold your wife’s hand as you sit around a fire pit in the back yard or go on a walk with your kids and listen about what is happening in their lives.

In the words of a popular song- just breathe.