25 years . . . 300 months . . . just over 1304 weeks . . . 9131 days . . . 219,144 hours . . .

Jason and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary while we were on vacation with the McFarland/Markward clan.

25 years . . . 300 months . . . just over 1304 weeks . . . 9131 days . . . 219,144 hours . . .

That’s a fair bit of shared history. That’s a pretty respectable amount of time.

It felt like an occasion worthy of celebration. 25 years of marriage felt ever so slightly momentous.

Some people throw great big parties to celebrate 25 years of marriage.   (This is great – for THEM – but is so NOT our style! Two introverts do not combine to make big party goers or throwers.)

Some folks go to fancy restaurants for supper. Jason and I prefer the authentic Mexican tacos from our local Mexican grocery store. The tacos are super-duper yummy and remind us of our trips to Mexico. Win – win!

Some people get silver. But I already have the only silver I will ever want: a set of antique silver flatware we use every day.

Some people renew their vows. That sounds like my day job to me . . .

So – we did a very Jason and Kerri McFarland kind of thing. We took a hike! Yep – we hiked to the top of Clingmans Dome in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

We hiked with Jack – Will – Caitlyn – Nic – Bella – Linda – John – Elizabeth and Debbie (It was sooooo incredibly romantic! Just the two of us – our sons – and most of our extended family. . .)

Clingmans Dome is beautiful. (Our family is too!)

The trickiest/hardest part was finding a parking spot! Wow – were there a lot of people wanting to join us on our special anniversary hike to the top of Clingmans Dome on Tuesday. But once we found a parking spot (actually we needed 3 spots because there are so many of us these days) – we were rewarded with stunningly beautiful views.

The skies were just plain gorgeous on Tuesday.

Just the McFarland/Markward clan and the rest of Tennessee off for a quick hike!

The hike from the parking lot to the top of Clingmans Dome is only about a half-mile (on a paved trail) but it is a pretty steep climb the whole way to the tippy top of the mountain.

At the top of Clingmans Dome – we were standing at 6,643 feet above sea level which is the 3rd highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi and the highest point in both Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

Once we got to the top – we were able to see for miles and miles and miles.   On clear days – you can see for up to 100 miles!!! And it was actually a perfectly – perfect clear day – a rare occurrence on Clingmans Dome.

The views were simply stunning.

We spent a long time at the top taking in the views and chatting and chattering and ooohhhhing and aaaahhhing! And taking pictures. Lots and lots and lots of pictures.

Brothers-in-law bonding

We have made this hike many – many times over the years and this year’s weather fell into the best ever category. So many times – it is foggy or hazy at the top of Clingmans Dome – but not this year. This year the skies were crystal clear.

Once everyone was ready to head for the parking lot – we were off.   Down – down – down – we hiked.

At the bottom – Jason and I found Jack at the top of some massively huge boulders. (No surprise there. Jack has been climbing to terrifying – death-defying heights his entire life!?!?!)   Jack loves climbing stuff I simply walk around or avoid . . .

Will and Debbie’s reward for being such great little hikers was a trip to play in the Little Pigeon River at the Chimney’s picnic area.

Playing in the river at Chimneys is an absolute must on any McFarland family vacation to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. (In the summer – we usually skip playing in the river in the winter . . .) Jason and Elizabeth played here when they were little and now our kids play here year after year.

I love listening to the sound of the water – the wind in the trees – and voices of my family. (Perfect knitting conditions!)

I also spend a ridiculous (some might think – but I don’t) amount of time watching the sun shine through the leaves on the trees. I love – love – love to do this. And I particularly love to do this at the Chimney’s picnic area.

This year Will caught his biggest crayfish EVER!

He was very – very – very pleased and proud.

And then – tired and dirty – we headed back up the mountain to the cabin after a truly glorious day in the woods and the mountains with our special people.

25 years . . . 300 months . . . just over 1304 weeks . . . 9131 days . . . 219,144 hours . . .

We spent our 25th wedding anniversary in a place we love with the people we love doing things we love.

This was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary. We are so blessed and so thankful!

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