Tag Archives: Outdoors

outdoorsy girl

today i took some of my middle school kids to a theme park. three girls rode over in my car, singing to my adele cd.

suddenly, the girl in the front seat turned to me and said, “do you climb?”

“errr, yeah… i do like to climb, actually… why?”

“you just look like an outdoorsy kind of girl.”

“why is that?”

“your chocos, your watch, your climbing bracelet…”

“that bracelet is from africa. it’s not a climbing thing.”

one of the girls in the back, sporting mark jacobs sun glasses, piped in, “it’s true. you look outdoorsy. it’s not my look, but i think it’s cool.”

even after cutting 8 inches off my “hippie” hair, my kids seem to think i’ve still got some crunch.

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useless blither

stealing that one from furst.

i feel like i should post something today since it is election day and voting is important (get out the vote!)

i did vote, and my ballot would confuse just about anyone.

so rather than confuse you all as well, i’ll tell you about how much i like to go to the park.

i was dogsitting this past weekend. ollie is the best dog. i should take a picture next time i stay with him. for one, ollie is a great cuddler. he keeps my feet warm, but doesn’t get in my way… perfect. secondly, ollie sits and contemplates important things while i’m reading. he can be so stoic. he’s also my muse. he sat on my feet while i typed a paper sunday, and i’m convinced that’s why i finished the whole thing in one sitting.

ollie is also a smart ass. at one point, as i stretched out on the couch reading homework on a friday night, loving my class and the reading, but lamenting how it encroaches on my social life… i turned to ollie and said, “you know, even if i were to really like a guy… i don’t have time for a boyfriend.” ollie, in his infinite wisdom, rolled his eyes at me.

but this is supposed to be about parks, not dogs. ollie lives 2 doors down from one of the entrances to a great park. it is so much fun to walk there, and ollie is the perfect excuse. the breadth and depth of humanity you encounter at the park is amazing! all different people, all different shapes and sizes and colors. and dogs. everyone is so different, and yet they all come to the same spot. a spark of commonality between us all. and this weekend, with the especially lovely fall weather, i couldn’t help but be awed by the beauty of all God’s creation… the people, colors, smells, animals, sounds, feels… like it was one great big church.

and now i’ve said something about parks.

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almost perfect camping

just about every year, graham and i go camping. this takes quite a bit of coordination, since neither of us have lived in the same state for 5 years now, but we all make time for what we think is important. we’ve camped the beaches of maryland, the mountains of virginia and north georgia, and now we can add north carolina to the mix.

after getting some advice, maps and books from my new favorite outdoors store (it’s local) we decided the 2.5 hour drive to horsepasture river (which runs through gorges state park and nantahala national forest) was a bit far, but do-able. we had plenty to catch up on anyway.

typically, our camping trips, though awesome, have been marked by some kind of drama. usually in the form of rain… once with the added fun of a sand storm. but this time everything was just so beautiful and easy! our gear was ready, the weather was perfect, our pace was good, the sites were well worth the trek. there are 5 falls along horsepasture river, of which we saw two. turtleback falls is about 1.4 miles in from the trail head. it’s easy to see why it’s called turtleback, with a short round slide that provides a 15-foot drop (depending on where you start) for those brave enough to go over the edge. this would be an easy spot for a day trip-and-dip. rainbow falls is just 0.2 miles further, with a 125-foot drop. there’s a swimming hole at the base, which also looked like fun… but we hiked on, leaving everyone else behind. really, i don’t think we ran into anyone past rainbow falls (till the next morning). about 2 miles in, we decided to swim. it was a lot like goshen, va (my favorite swimming spot in the world) and the water was surprisingly warm for a mountain hike. we hiked on some more, thinking we might make it to the 3rd cascade, when we stumbled upon the best camp site ever. the ground was flat and clear, logs were placed as benches around a campfire spot, fire wood had been gathered and left behind… it was almost eerie. a stream about 10-yards away was great for washing up and collecting water. so we stopped, unloaded and set up camp in no time. when has it ever been this easy?!? we feasted on couscous, tuna and chicken noodle soup for dinner. we made a fire. we talked, told ghost stories, got a little scared, told jokes, laughed, and went to bed tired. pretty much perfect.

graham was slow getting up the next morning, so i chilled out on a log for a long time, which is the kind of thing i like to do. once he got up, we went for a swim and stretched out like lizards on rocks. graham wasn’t feeling well at all, and it didn’t look like he’d be feeling better any time soon, so we packed up to hike out. on our way out, we saw lots of people enjoying the various water holes and slides. this looks to be a popular spot in the summer. about 2/3 of the way out, we threw down our packs and sat on the side of the trail. graham waited for hikers to walk past before vomiting directly onto the trail. so much for perfect camping. miraculously, the vomit soaked right into the ground, totally unnoticeable in less than 2 minutes. in typical boot-and-rally fashion, we loaded up again and didn’t stop walking till we got to the car. i drove home, graham rested… and continued to rest till he could drive home the following day. being sick sucks, but being sick while you travel sucks a little more.

still, it was an awesome weekend, and a great way to christen the mountains of north carolina, of which i hope to see a lot more.

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