The Family That Hikes Together. . .

This weekend, my daughter planned an incredible get away/hiking adventure.  Tucked away in the Tennessee/North Carolina border, we stayed just outside the little town of Roan Mountain.  She found us an Indian themed cabin, that was cozy if not just a little over the top.

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This was my actual bed.

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We gave the kids the queen room since they brought their dog, and JG slept on his inflatable on the kitchen floor.  It was way more comfortable than it looks.

Anyway, on Saturday morning, she took us to a section of the Appalachian Trail that was a view seekers paradise.  If you have hiked the AT, you may know this spot – it was quite popular on this crisp September morning.

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The hike starts off on an easy trail through the forest. . .

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and brings you out onto the first of three bald knobs.

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It just gets better from here.  If every hike had this many views, I would never stay home.IMG_20180922_092857IMG_20180922_093028

But the most fun for me, was hiking with family.  We don’t get to do this very often and even though the kids go much faster than we do (and end up waiting on us) I think they enjoyed showing us this part of the AT that was new to us.

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Grand dog Stark, had a good time as well.  He can’t believe how high up he is.

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On the return trip, the clouds were moving in, but we did not get any rain.  I was so taken with the ridges and how they interacted with the sky – what a fantastic setting.

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We were all pooped by the time we returned to the cabin, especially Stark.  We had a quiet evening in.  This morning we had breakfast together and then parted ways.  I mentioned to JG that if he wanted to pull over for a quick hike on the way home, I did have a clean hiking outfit.

He took me up on it, and we stopped for a short loop at Grayson Highlands, where autumn has arrived a little earlier than the rest of the state.

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What a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Taking back roads home, I took this shot as it looked like we were driving into a major storm.  Turns out we just got the tail end of it.

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I love that our family enjoys these adventures together.  What fun things do you like to do with family?

The Wedding – Part I

The Rehearsal Dinner

Natty Greene’s Pub  3rd floor Loft, was the perfect venue for the rehearsal dinner for Lori and Doug.  We have been there many times but never had such an emotional evening as this night.

The dinner was for the wedding party and close family members who had made the trip a day early.  My sister and brother-in-law arrived just before the event started and my brother – who suffered many plane delays despite leaving Des Moines very early in the morning, arrived just before dinner.  My husband, whose family all live in Germany, had one representative, his nephew, who came from Berlin and had already been with us for a couple of weeks.

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That’s me with my German nephew, my sister, her husband, and the bride to be

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and my brother.

The emotional part of the evening came when the bridal party was invited into the conference room for gifts.  My daughter gave me the most incredible gift.

When my mother passed away she gave me her pearl ring, a gift from my father that she wore all the time.  I never wore the ring, but I had it cleaned and gave it to my daughter when she was in college.  She loved it and wore it everywhere.  There were little pearls surrounding a larger pearl.  One of the little pearls fell out of its setting and she was unable to find it.  She thought someday she might have to redo the whole ring because it was impossible to find an exact match.

For my gift, she had the original pearls made into earrings.

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She then had the ring restored with all new pearls.  She planned to wear it for the first time on her wedding day.

As if that wasn’t enough to bring on the tears, the card had a quote from our beloved Gilmore Girls (which we watched over and over and over).  The quote is from Rory’s high school graduation speech:

“My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. . . I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her. Thank you, Mom. You are my guidepost for everything.”

For my husband, she painted a replica of their campsite.  For the last several years they have taken a Father/Daughter camping/hiking trip near Mt. Rogers, VA.  They stay at Graceland Highlands and try to get the same campsite each time – lucky number #89.002

Oh yes, dad had a tear or two.

Even the groom got a little teary eyed listening to his father’s speech.

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Oh well, at least we got the crying phase out of the way before the wedding.