Autumn Adventures

Last week the girls had two half-days and one holiday for their end of term “break” and so we took off for the mountains as fast as we could go.  We headed to our favorite spot – in North Carolina near the Cherohala Skyway. We stayed at a cabin that we’ve stayed in before and met Mom and my stepdad for the long weekend.

On Thursday, it was rainy and cool so we spent most of the day at the cabin listening to the rain and relaxing. It was a lazy day and one we very much needed.  We spent a lot of time right out here on the porch enjoying the rain and yet staying dry.

IMG_3951

On Friday, the day dawned cool and crisp and so SuperMan and I decided to take the girls to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest for a hike. It is a wilderness area so the trails are rustic and rough, but it was a beautiful walk through the woods.

IMG_3968

SuperMan and Big Girl led the way as they’ve been there a few times on previous trips.

IMG_3975

The streams rushing along the paths were so beautiful and soothing.

IMG_3974

SuperMan was never one to stay on the beaten path – and he wasn’t going to here, either…

IMG_3990

Big Girl shot a “selfie” and got both of us as I walked up into the picture by accident. I like it, though. Not sure why she likes the lopsided angle, but a lot of her selfie shots are that way. Must be a teenager thing.

IMG_3993

Along with the very big trees there were very big leaves which doubled nicely for bunny ears.

IMG_3995

My little tree-hugger. Smile

Little Bit and I got tired on the hike and headed back to the base camp early while SuperMan and Big Girl finished up the route. We propped our (tired) feet up and relaxed in the sunshine by the stream while we waited on the others.

IMG_4013

Oooh, my achin’ feet. Cowboy boots were not meant for hiking in the mountains… (lesson learned)

IMG_3998

After we left the Joyce Kilmer Forest, we headed up to the overlook above the trails. IMG_4018

SuperMan was keeping me warm. It was breezy (and cold!) up there.

Then we headed over the pass for a ride along the Cherohala Skyway.  As always, it was beautiful.

IMG_4015

Isn’t that just spectacular?

On the other side of the Skyway is Tellico Plains, TN.  As we drove along towards Tellico Plains, we passed the Tellico river. It was absolutely beautiful and so after we ate some barbeque and headed back over the Skyway to the cabin SuperMan stopped so that I could take some pictures of the river.  My scenic photography was interrupted by two goofballs who decided to be in the photos …

IMG_4046

IMG_4050

They’re cute, though, aren’t they?

It may be Tuesday, but it feels like Monday

I’ve got the Monday blues today.

We had a fantastic weekend – a quick, impromptu trip to North Carolina that included mountain stream swimming, pizza by the rapids and culminated in horseback riding on Labor Day.  All in all it was a beautiful, perfect weekend.

We stayed in this sweet little cabin that was right on the banks of a mountain stream… I loved listening to the rushing water and was lulled to sleep at least once as I laid on the glider on the deck while SuperMan and the girls played in the creek.IMG_3728[1]

The girls weren’t too sure about the rapids in the stream and it took them a little while to get comfortable with the rushing water, but once they did, they loved it.

IMG_3714[1]

I stayed clear of the 50 degree water – it was warm outside, but not hot enough to provide enough incentive to get me in that cold water!

IMG_3716[1]

Sunday night we drove along the Nantahala River and had pizza at this road-/river-side pizza joint I’d seen on Yelp.  Little did I know when we set out to eat there that it was a really rustic place.  Bear in mind, it was raining… not pouring, but a steady drizzle coming down.

SuperMan got out to “check the place out” and told us to come on in, so we did.  And I got quite a surprise as I walked up and discovered that there were no chairs… and no tables … and virtually no walls!  It was, essentially, a shack on the river with a covered deck that went out over the river.  We persevered, though, because up there in the mountains your restaurant choices were limited and we figured at least we knew they were open!!

We ordered our pizza and settled in on the rustic deck benches to wait for it to be baked.IMG_3744[1]

The pizza was good and the ambiance (bluegrass music, rushing water, rustic place) was so typically Smoky Mountains.  I loved it.

Sunday was a lazy day, but Monday we were up bright and early and headed out for a surprise we had planned for the girls – horseback riding!  Big Girl has only been  riding a few times and never on a trail ride. Little Bit had only been on a horse once in a ring and never when she was “in charge” of the horse.  I was excited and anxious for them – hopeful that they’d have a good time and not be scared.

IMG_3760[1]

We arrived at the stables and they were both a little intimidated by the horses and the prospect of essentially being on their own to guide the horse along the trail.  I knew they’d be ok – most trail ride horses are content to follow the one in front of it and the gentleman who owned the stables did a great job encouraging without “going there” and letting the girls chicken out.

IMG_3766[1]

We had a great ride – up the ridge to see some awesome views and then back down through winding the trees and across a few tiny little brooks.  Even managed to canter a little bit.

IMG_3769[1]  IMG_3768[1]

We headed home after our ride and meandered back down from the Smokies to our little foothill, filled with happy memories and making plans to do it all again soon.

Upon arriving home, we made a very sad discovery – we found that our sweet Gracie cat was no longer with us.  So, after unloading the car, poor SuperMan had to dig her grave and comfort three heartbroken girls.

Our hearts are heavy this morning. We really missed our Gracie girl as we got ready for the day. Normally, she’s following me step-for-step around the house and climbing on the girls, meowing and demanding attention.  This morning there were no demands only silent remembrance.

IMG_3625[1]

Gracie was thirteen, a rescue that I saved from rush hour traffic one morning (while pregnant with Big Girl) and while demanding and obnoxious she was my constant companion.  My house is too quiet today and I’m really missing her.

So, while we had a great weekend, I’ve got the blues today.

Rest well, my sweet girl. I’ll see you on the Rainbow Bridge one day.