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Friday, August 1, 2014

One final road trip...


 For me clarity requires cooler temps. Not cold. No, no no. As much as I occasionally get homesick for Illinois I do believe I've traded in my harsh winters for a different definition of chilly. I'm talking 68 degrees early on a summer day and this week I unexpectedly got to enjoy some of those low 60's in July. The more the degrees fell the bigger my smile grew. Fall temps are my favorite of course. Any excuse to wear a puffy vest. What I've learned about myself though over the last few years is that I am happiest either in the Mountains or near the Sea. I'm lighter. More content. Comfortable (especially at 9 months pregnant the mountain air gave me the boost of energy that this Georgia heat had sucked out of me). I assume I'm not alone in these feelings, but I am all about following instincts here. So if cool mountain mornings can be my everyday or even breezy ocean air I'll do what I can to make that happen. Vacation just isn't going to cut it for me.

                

Let me back up. I've blogged about Asheville a few times so I'm not going to spend too much time on where to stay (The Aloft everytime! No question.) or where to eat (ate at The Blackbird again and oh..my...goodness..it hit all the right spots. Fresh Red Snapper was insane. Coconut Cake was ridiculous). I just need to capture the last couple of days on here for myself so I can look back and be reminded how wonderful they were. The fun I had in these last few weeks leading up to the arrival of baby girl. How I felt. What I thought about. I wasn't about to let being 36/37 weeks pregnant stop me from "getting lost" if you will. I have a stubborn side but I admittedly get it honestly.

Everything I needed I found. Our homes AC unit busted the other day. As in stopped working!!! It was in the 90's so I was pretty much miserable and looking to punch something or someone. Side Note: It's still broken today. They are putting in a new unit so pray that I don't hurt anyone. The dog, the kid and myself stayed at one of the only local hotels on Monday night that would take a 50+ lb dog. It wasn't that nice. I didn't sleep well (Momma bear instincts kicked in). However, I guess it was better than sleeping in a house that was over 80 degrees. I wasn't planning on capturing my 36 week photo in this hotel but here are my sad, tired eyes. Calgon take me awayyyyyyyy.....
                      

Luckily I knew that next morning I was packing us up to meet the Hubby up in Asheville. Sadly he has to work when we are up there much of the time but I'm grateful we could spend time with him. We miss him so much when he's gone and lately my pregnancy brain has a need to keep my family all together. Plus, Aiden starts school next week so no time like the present. We took the scenic route which is a little longer but my favorite. I cruise through all of my favorite mountain towns like Elijay, Blue Ridge, up through North Carolina. I daydream about my mountain home. A large cabin with very high vaulted ceilings and a huge fire pit. We stop along the way to look at the river rushing by us (a place we'll one day have a family vacation and go rafting). Perfection from Mother Nature. Pitch me a hammock and let's call it home.
              
We got to Asheville and headed to lunch at Wicked Weed Brewery. Delicious. Great ambiance. Super dog friendly. Can't wait to go back and drink loads of beer. Had an AMAZING BLT with heirloom tomatoes and a garlic aioli spread. YUM! We spent that evening mostly swimming at the hotel and playing with Finley.  The Aloft might be the friendliest dog hotel ever by the way. Finley was given a plush doggy bed, a bag of treats, a kong ball and way too much attention. Most people don't get treated that nice. Just snuggling up as a family that night and I could rest. I knew the next morning I was about to go for it.
              


                

That morning it was chilly in the air. We considered stopping and buying something with a sleeve but decided it'd warm up soon enough. And frankly it felt so good to me. I wondered if I could take a nap outside. We drove down to Dupont State Forest near Brevard (which I've blogged about here). I was on a mission. Waterfalls. North Carolina and this particular area has loads of Falls. Had I not been pregnant we would have hiked all day to look at them, but I managed to squeak in about 2-2.5 miles which given my state I thought was pretty impressive. By the end I felt like my hips were about to explode but it was worth it. And I am so proud I went for it. I felt better than ever.  It was picture perfect. We saw High Falls and Hooker Falls this time. You can find links to these hikes here if you find yourself in Asheville.
             
              

               
                 
       

Looking out among these glorious falls I just allowed myself to drift and dream for a moment. About how the next time we'll be a family of 5 (Aiden said I have to count Finley...and I agree). How we can make the life we want where we want. We can get lost and not drop a dime if we wanted. Head for the mountains. Bask in the sun. Smell that air. And then cruise back along the Blue Ridge Parkway (which oh my gosh is STUNNING). I thought about how I want to take these same pictures in the Fall when the leaves are turned and shades of reds and oranges. Can you imagine? I'll have a baby strapped to me.

For now I'll pack away my dream of this future hike. I'll revisit it on what I can only imagine are a few tired nights to come. Relive these last few days on the days when I'm so exhausted and just be grateful for this life and my family and for the simple beauty of the outdoors.

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