I am finally back from a long, exciting and exhausting vacation! My girlfriend and I headed south for the past 9 days to explore the great state of Tennessee from Nashville to Knoxville and all the way down to the Great Smoky Mountains.

We began our journey in Nashville where we sampled, err, sampled quite heavily,  the acclaimed nightlife, honky tonks and alcohol of the music city. In addition to a lot of great up and coming bands, we also enjoyed riverside concerts from Julianne Hough and Trace Adkins. Both of whom performed during the 4th of July celebration, which was amazing. The fire works were jaw dropping. They beat out what I saw in NYC a couple years ago, by far.

After Nashville we visited some of Kylie’s family. Where we grilled out, swapped old hunting stories with her uncle and did some bass fishing. After our short stop there we proceeded into Great Smoky Mountain National Park for some camping, hiking and backpacking.

We first did a two day backpack up to the top of Mount Sterling on the east side of the park. This was a particularly interesting backpack, as it involved nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain and a close encounter during dinner with two bears. We luckily made it out of that all right and actually ended up seeing two more bears in another area of the park within 24 hours of that initial encounter. We finished our trip with a hike along the appalachian trail to the top of Charlies Bunion. On our way home from Tennessee we also stopped in Louisville, Kentucky for the Quality Deer Management Nation Convention and Whitetail Expo. But I’ll share more about that with you all later!

Overall it was a great trip and a welcome break from the day to day. I’ve got some awesome stories, a few blisters and a sore hip, and lots of great memories.

Now, that being said, I know that none of you actually care about what I did on vacation. So to keep things relevant and interesting for ya’ll, I also got some velvet footage of a couple nice bucks in Tennessee. I found these bucks in an area of Smoky Mountain National Park  that is called Cades Cove, we ended seeing probably close to 40 deer in this one area and about 10-15 of them were bucks! Nothing fancy, but who doesn’t like to see wide racked antlers?