Monthly Archives: May 2017

Rainbow Falls: After The Fire

Rainbow Falls

My husband, friends and I had the opportunity to hike the Rainbow Falls Trail in the Smoky Mountain en route to Mount Leconte last week. Rainbow Falls Trail is one of five trails that hikers can use to access Mount Leconte and the historic Mount Leconte Lodge. The four other trails are Boulevard, Bullhead, Trillium Gap and Alum Cave Trails.

Rainbow Falls: The Trailhead

The trail currently is undergoing maintenance and is closed Monday 7:00 am through Thursday 5:30 pm until November 16, 2017 but is open to hikers Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. As we left the parking lot at the trailhead, we noticed the evident signs of active trail maintenance. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park crew is rebuilding part of the bottom of the trail. As we began to ascend, it became evident where the wildfires from last November touched the landscape.

Rainbow Falls

Beautiful trees were burned out and left only the skeleton of the bark. It was a heartbreaking reminder of the night we watched the news come in that there was a massive wildfire in our beloved park and city. We were only left to wait to see as the morning light dawned what damage had been done to this natural wonder. While the remnants of burned trees remained, the beautiful bright green of new growth was a welcomed sight.

The scorched earth gave way to beautiful green foliage along the trail and stream. We headed up to Rainbow Falls and enjoyed lunch next to the falls. Rainbow Falls is an 80 foot high waterfall and is credited as being the tallest single drop waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As we continued up the trail, it seemed as if the wild fire damage was behind us. However, the landscape drastically changed as we begin to ascend further.

My friends and I commented that it looked like a movie scene. The barren mountainside was littered with tree trunks, dirt and rocks. Off in the distance, beautiful green foliage covered the mountainside. The juxtaposition of the two landscapes was startling and unsettling. The smell of char was prolific in the air. As before, we traveled a little further up the trail, the stark landscape broke into the lavish foliage once again.

We finally arrived at the Lodge. Graciously, Mt. LeConte was spared by the wildfires. We enjoyed an evening of porch sitting, dinner, and storytelling with other hikers and the staff on the mountain. The fire damaged the foliage of the mountains, but did not damage the spirit of the Smokies.

Click on an image and use arrow keys to view gallery.

Jessica Doppelt

Owner of

See Costumes From The Original Titanic Movie!

titanic pigeon forge

The 1997 film Titanic is the fifth highest grossing film of all time. It was nominated for fourteen Oscars and won eleven, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Costume Design. This summer, you can see the costumes from the original motion picture for yourself at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge.

Costume Design

The team of costume designers for James Cameron's film consisted of 50 people, and according to the team's leader Deborah Scott, they had about a year of lead time to define and locate the perfect collection of garments for the production. Cameron was determined for the movie to be as accurate and impressive as possible.

We started off with a team of four or five people and traveled all over the place collecting vintage garments. But slowly over time, we had maybe 45 or 50 people working in the costume department alone--we shot the whole movie in a studio that they built from the ground-up down in Mexico, and we had a gigantic warehouse where wardrobe was, with offices, shops, hair and makeup, dressing areas. The scale was just incredible.
Deborah Scott, Costume Designer

Titanic Pigeon Forge

This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the film's release, and to celebrate, the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge will be displaying many of the original costumes included in the movie from June 17 through September 4. "The idea is to bring fans closer to the magic of this movie than ever before,” says Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, the attraction's co-owner.

Call (800) 381-7670 to make reservations!

10 Steps to A Self-Sufficient & Prepared Lifestyle

bullseye expo pigeon forge

In the face of nature, are you prepared for survival? Kevin Murphy from the Bullseye Preparedness & Outdoors Expo talked to us about some tips for staying prepared for whatever nature throws your way. When it comes to things like camping in the Smoky Mountains, it’s important to go in with the right mindset and checklist. Check out the Bullseye Expo this June for more great information, classes, and fun activities to get you ready to wander into the wilderness safely and sufficiently.

white harvest seed company

1. Grow your own food

Everyone knows that maintaining a garden is a lot of work, but in the end the rewards can be quite surprising! Many people don’t realize that even a small backyard garden can keep their tables filled with fresh vegetables all summer long. The White Harvest Seed Company shares a passion for gardening and encourages others to keep sowing and growing with a variety of kits and heirloom seed packages and they are always eager to share their knowledge with others!

2. Learn different methods of fire building

bullseye expo pigeon forge

Fire building is so important that it deserves its own list! Whether you’re just enjoying a nice evening in the back yard, 3 days into a hiking trip or in real life survival situation; knowing how to build a fire can be an invaluable asset that will certainly make life a little easier. Learn as many methods as you can; from modern to primitive and keep your skills fresh. Chris Deslo from 4 Directions Bushcraft and Justin Polly from DIY Survival have definitely got the knack for making fire from virtually nothing and they’re always willing to share those skills with others.

bullseye expo pigeon forge

3. Brush up on first aid

You don’t have to have a PhD to know the basics of first aid and a well-stocked first aid kit is always handy to have around. From every day cuts and scrapes to more pressing emergency situations; a little knowledge and a few items held in reserve can go a long way in keeping things together until help arrives. If you’re not sure where to start; Todd Spence of the Tactical Medic League is a great source for both with IFAKs and New age tactical medicine training.

bullseye expo pigeon forge

4. Build a bugout bag

Bugout bags and emergency kits might sound intimidating but if you’re in an evacuation type situation and you’ve got to move with little to no notice; you’ll be glad it’s there. Joe and Mary at Prepper’s Asylum have everything you need to get started and they’re always willing and able to help you with any questions you may have along the way!

bullseye expo pigeon forge

5. Store water

Most government agencies would advise you to keep a three day supply of water on hand in case of emergency (that’s 1 gallon of water per person/pet per day) and that’s a great start! What happens after 3 days? We’re not real sure either; that’s why we’d suggest thinking a little longer term when it comes to water storage at home.

6. Learn the basics of food storage and always keep at least a two week supply on hand

bullseye expo pigeon forge

Having more than just a few days of food on hand at any given time can be convenient in numerous instances. If you’ve honed your gardening skills (like we suggested in #1) this is easier to accomplish than you’d think. There’s a variety of methods to storing food; once you’ve decided on the methods you wish to employ it’s time to get busy! The fine folks at Tennessee Readiness in Cosby, TN are always willing to share their experience. Stop by and see them while you’re in town or visit them online!

bullseye expo pigeon forge

7. Practice your knots

Having cordage available and knowing some knot tying basics can make a bad situation a little easier if you’ve prepared yourself ahead of time. There are plenty of places to learn more online; we’d suggest you start with Around the Cabin; an invaluable resource on a wide range of how-to topics and DIY techniques.

8. Embrace alternative energy sources

bullseye expo pigeon forge

Power outages occur and batteries only last so long. With advancements in solar and other alternative power sources; it’s always a good idea to have several options on hand. Having a backup generator and an alternative heat source are great ways to be prepared as well. Having a solar charging flashlight or lantern is another great step in sustainability. Hybrid Light makes several models that can recharge in sunlight or artificial light while providing the capabilities to charge your mobile devices as well!

bullseye expo pigeon forge

9. Take a Class

Search your local community for classes or workshops; these are great places to learn new skills. Bullseye Preparedness & Outdoors ExpoJune 10 & 11, 2017 at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, TN will provide a wide range of presentations, classes, workshops and demonstrations that will get you pointed in the right direction!

10. Put your skills to the test!

Learning what to do and how to do it is just the beginning. Get outside and start practicing all of the new skills that you’ve learned! Plan a family camping trip or a weekend hike with friends. Either way; the Great Smoky Mountains are an excellent place to hone your newfound preparedness and outdoors skills!

Written by Kevin Murphy – Bullseye Preparedness & Outdoors Expo

Mother’s Day Giveaway

Treat the family to an amazing weekend in the Smokies with this incredible Mother's Day package, valued at over $1200. You can qualify to win by entering your information in the form below before Frisay, May 12 when we will randomly draw a winner. Good luck!


Riverstone Resort

2 Night Stay - 2 Bedroom Condo

Prepare to explore the essence of the Smoky Mountains at the Riverstone Resort & Spa in Pigeon Forge with this complimentary certificate good for two nights in one of our luxuriouys two-bedroom condos.

The Escape Game

4 Tickets

The #1 Rated "Escape Room" and "Fun & Games" Attraction on TripAdvisor for Pigeon Forge. Win 4 tickets to one of these awesome games. We recommend Gold Rush!

Sevierville Golf Club

Family of 4 Fun Time

You are hereby invited to experience The Sevierville Golf Club, located at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains in the foothills. This certificate includes range balls for practice and 2 complimentary appetizers of your choice from Mulligans.


4 Tickets

Impossibilities is a magic and mind-reading show starring Magician Chris Collins and Mentalist Erik Dobell at the Space Needle in Gatlinburg. Are you looking for an evening of family entertainment in the Great Smoky Mountains? You’re looking for Impossibilities.

Country Tonite

4 Tickets

Celebrating 20 years! Country Tonite rises to new heights in 2017 with a new show that showcases new elements and changes along with fan favorites from past seasons. This year’s show yet again promises the unique entertainment experience and award winning identity that sets Country Tonite apart.

Governor's Crossing Cinema

4 Tickets

Come visit the brand new state of the art movie theater located beside Tanger Outlets in Sevierville, TN. Featuring fully reclining chairs with extra wide screens and two SXS extreme auditoriums with 40,000 watt stereo systems with added ceiling speakers.

Big Daddy's Pizzeria

Gift Certificate

Gourmet Ingredients. Wood fired. Hand-Crafted Dough. World Class Pizza + arcade in Pigeon Forge. This certificate includes 2 (two) 14 inch pizzas of your choice, 1 pound of wings, and 4 non-alcholic drinks.

Outdoor Adventures

Come ready for fun and we’ll do everything else! Whitewater excitement or relaxing floats. Fun and memorable rafting experiences. Our beautiful location on the river makes your experience the best.

Teamwork & The Escape Game: Pigeon Forge

the escape game pigeon forge

You’re trapped in a room with a group of your closest friends, and the clock is ticking. You can only escape through the right amount of problem solving, communication, and most importantly, teamwork. I expected to have fun at The Escape Game, Pigeon Forge, but I never imagined such a clever and thought-provoking organization of riddles that turned out to be an extremely positive team building experience.

the escape game pigeon forge

The Escape Game

The Escape Game, voted the #1 “escape room” attraction in Pigeon Forge, has 4 uniquely puzzling interactive experiences: There’s Prison Break, perhaps the most traditional of the “escape” genre, where players must decipher their way out of a containment cell. Another is The Heist, a challenge of “beating a thief at his own game” and recovering a masterful work of art. The objective of Classified involves stopping a major international terrorist attack (no pressure), and the game we got to play was Gold Rush.

the escape game pigeon forge

On The Hunt For Gold

Gold Rush involves a series of rooms that you have to work your way through in order to find an infamous stash of treasure before the mob does. I grew up on treasure hunt themed birthday parties, so I was pumped. My team was made up of four people including myself and three of my close friends. We’ve all lived with each other at different points and places in the last five years, so we’re an interesting sort of team, but a team nonetheless.

For nearly two centuries, the hope of gold has lured people to the hills of Northern California. No one was captivated more than Clyde Hamilton, a greedy gold prospector who loved to gamble. Clyde made too many bets with the wrong crowd and now he’s missing. You’ve been tipped off to where he stashed his gold… But so has the mob. Finders keepers.

We started in “The Forest” – the setting right outside the cabin we were fated to explore. The area was not very big but contained all kinds of clues, riddles, and locked boxes for us to work our way into. I had never done anything like this before, so I didn’t know what to expect going in. I assumed there would be puzzles and riddles and that we would have to work together to solve them, but I truly thought there would be a little more imbalance when it came to who was doing what.

What I found was that we all sort of fell into our roles as problem solvers and worked as a team without even trying to be one. It started with simple tasks; one person would hold a flashlight while one would fiddle with a lock and another would be calling out number combinations. But as we got deeper into the game there were more specialized tasks where we were able to recognize the person for the job. There was a part of the storyline that involved shooting some targets (the game’s description includes the hint “take aim”), and three of us gladly stepped back to let the markswoman do the job. When there were numbers involved, the industrial engineer of the group took the lead. In the last room especially, we’d really gotten the hang of the game and were spread out doing different tasks and communicating our way through all the riddles.

The game unites a group of people and puts you in a position where you have to build trust to solve problems together. You identify everyone’s individual skills and figure out the most effective way to achieve your goals. As a team-building scenario, it’s such a beneficial way to build respect and grow comfortable working together. By the end of it we were bonding over the anxiety and laughs and goals that we could not have achieved alone.

the escape game pigeon forge

The Finale

And we did it! We escaped! The storyline was so cool. We had about five minutes left on the clock and were getting pretty anxious about solving the final riddle. None of us wanted to be losers. When the last door finally opened up, it was extremely satisfying. You can see in our faces how excited we were after it was over. If you do make it out within the hour, you get an “I Escaped” sticker to show off so everybody knows you’re a real winner.

Overall, my experience at The Escape Game, Pigeon Forge was the most fun I’d had all year, and the challenge to work together as a team was truly beneficial to our group as a whole. I recommend The Escape Game to coworkers, friends, families, and all groups alike looking for an exciting activity to do together. It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind experience that you will never forget. I can’t wait to play the other games.

Caroline Sullivan

Content Manager for