|Middle of nowhere Tennessee|
"Question...Have you ever been here? Carvers Gap, Pisgah/Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee"
After about 100 more emails, talking about it, and coordinating our schedules Anna and I finally were able to find a date that worked for both of us for a weekend where two of the world's most over prepared, bring enough stuff for three weeks of camping people, could just disappear and escape everything for a few days.
WE NEED A PLAN! OK, we planned what we were going to eat, a loose route to the Roan Mountain area, where we thought we were going to stay, and that was about it. We had no agenda. No time to wake up in the morning. No definite campground. And no specific trails that we wanted to hike. This was almost 100% "we're going to do whatever". And, this is our trip:
Grocery shopping and packing day. Tons of food were purchased and only a half ton was consumed :-( It turns out that the tremendous amounts of rain prevented us from cooking all of out meals outside which was kind of sad, but didn't stop us from having a good time. I will be eating veggies, grilled cheese, and s'mores for the rest of the week.
There was soooo much stuff stuffed into my little car that it was crazy!
|I told you we had a lot of food!|
Believe it or not, we left on time!
Our trip took us through some really scenic county side where we stopped several times to check out some cool and really bizarre / surreal things.
|Pattons Run - Nantahala National Forest|
|No peanuts and no Santa either...|
We stopped in a few different shops, walked through a gallery, tasted some cheese and fresh potato chips, perused the LAAFF Festival and then escaped back to reality. Oh yeah, and check out the awesome pot helmet!
Finally we arrived at the Watauga Lake campground. When I talked earlier about our loose plans I really meant it. In TN, the campgrounds are all first-come first-serve, so we didn't know if we would even have a place to stay. As it turned out there were two spots left and we snatched one of them up as quickly as we could and then set off to town for some more supplies.
|Creepy ass building in Elizabethton, TN.|
We know that there are dead bodies in there...it is that creepy...
|Weenies about to be roasted...my God...look at my arm!|
|There is only one way to go...creepy...|
Check this breakfast out...this is camping done right!
|We 'section hiked' Part of the AT.|
|Spikey trees. They kind of remind me of the Kung Fu practice things.|
|The next Runner's World "Rave Run".|
|One of my favorite photos.|
|Flashback from Cali. The "Lone Not Quite Cypress".|
|Christopher McCandless would know if these were edible...or would he?|
|Wait a second...we're really over a mile high?|
|Despite the clouds, it is still beautiful up here!|
|"Oh, yeah it's a..."|
OK, so we're a good ways into our hike at this point when Anna asks me "Is that a goat?" All I could do was chuckle and laugh and say "Umm...no...it's a big white dog." And then I picked on her for the next 10 minutes until we got to this picture:
|Yes, you too can adopt a goat.|
I think this is God's way of...well it is clearly God's sense of humor. Right after this mailbox on the trail there was a field with a "Nice" big white dog (that was nice until it tried to kill another dog some hikers were walking by with) and about 30 white goats. In my defense you could not see the goats from where were were initially, and only upon close examination of the field did we even notice the herd.
|On the way back you could really seen the goats.|
|"This one would be perfect!"|
We decided that it would probably be best to high-tail it out of there. A concern of mine (though I didn't mention it) was lightening. We were on a ridge, completely exposed, and a big ol' storm was making its way toward us quickly. In situations like these, where I know that things are actually pretty dangerous, I've found that it is often best to just lead and not freak people out by telling them why we are moving quickly. Like 2 minutes after I decided that we were going to get the hell out of Dodge, Anna asks, "What about lightening?" Then we decided to MOVE. We power hiked hills, ran downhills, and when the threat seemed to have passed we just walked...in the rain...it was AWESOME!
|After the rain.|
|Just plain moist.|
After we got back to the car we drove around looking for a place to picnic. The idea was to break out the camp stove and make some killer grilled cheese with tomato sandwiches on Asiago peppercorn bread. That didn't happen. It rained...hard...really hard...relentlessly hard. When you thought it was going to stop it rained even more....a lot more...relentlessly more.
We decided to eat in the car at Roan Mountain State Park where we would have left over potato chips from Asheville, hummus, carrots & red peppers, beef jerky, and Nerds. The rain started to let up, so I decided to take out the trash. As soon as I got out of the car it returned...with a vengeance...with a relentless vengeance...I was wet...again...
It was time to pack up and go. We decided that it was best to get everything broken down and loaded before it started to rain again. We did it, but when we finished we just didn't want to make breakfast, it was time to hit the road. Taking 321 to 411 to 75 the drive took us 7 hours to get back home. We drove through a lot of creepy towns, saw more creepy things, experienced a lot more creepy rain, and stopped at an apple orchard where we were the YOUNGEST people by far.
|One hint: Golden Delicious...ha ha ha ha!|
I so need more weekends like this past one...