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Huge Update! December 2018-January 2020

After our family Thanksgiving trip to New Orleans last year, I pretty much quit blogging on my own website, exclusively posting my travel journal to Facebook. Part of it was the ease of Facebook posting and picture importing vs. less simple, WordPress. The other part of it was visibility. I felt like my thousands of followers on Facebook were actually reading, commenting, and liking my content, but no one was seeing it on my website. I got discouraged and stopped using my website, except for my High Maintenance Hippies Jewelry sales.

After much thought, I deactivated my Facebook account to focus my time and energy to complete the project of updating my website blog. My goal is to blog and interact with people through my website, not on social media. I will reactivate my Facebook account to launch my updated blog and invite people to follow our new adventures this winter here on my website, not on Facebook. I will be keeping my 2020 Winter Wanderings travel journal HERE, only using Facebook to post links to my blog posts. Hope to have you along for the ride!

Rather than attempt to cut and paste all of my Facebook travel blog posts from 12/18-1/20, I will summarize the last year, share the highlights, and pictures. It was an amazing year full of travel, adventures, family, and friends. So grateful!

WINTER WANDERINGS 12/7/18-3/9/19

12/7-13/18 Edisto Beach State Park, *Primo Campsite #12*, Edisto, SC: We stayed in the beachfront campground, under a giant live oak, just behind a dune, with a pathway to the beach, one of my most favorite campsites ever. It was a really chilly week at the beach, but I always love the beach in the off-season. We bundled up and took plenty of walks on the beach with the puppies. It snowed over a foot back home while we were gone, so I was happy to be at the beach. We ate plenty of seafood at SeaCow, Whaley’s, and Ella & Ollie’s. By chance, a friend, Holly Peterson from Greenville was at Edisto at the same time, so we got together several times during the week, just us girls and as couples. Fabulous week!

Continue reading Huge Update! December 2018-January 2020
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Mt. Pisgah Campground, Frying Pan Fire Tower, Graveyard Fields, BRPW 9/28-30/18

Still not ready to camp at the lower elevations due to continued warm weather in the southeast, we once again headed up to one of our go to nearby campgrounds, Mt. Pisgah Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway for the weekend. I knew it was a little early for fall color, but hoped there would be some. There was hardly any. Since returning home, I have read that we our 5 days behind normal color schedule, so we were way early. The lack of color did not put much, if any of a dampener on our weekend. We had a fabulous time!

Friday, we arrived early evening. We did not like the space, #A10, we had reserved online, but thankfully, there were plenty of open sites, so we moved to #B5, which was a great spot with a very private campfire/picnic area. After getting set up, we hiked from the campground over to the Pisgah Inn. The view was enshrouded in clouds when we walked up, but broke up a little bit and gave a us a hazy peak with the sun trying to break through right above looking Glass Rock before we left. Even in the clouds and haze, the backside of the Pisgah Inn, with it’s view and setting, is one of my favorite places on earth. I could sit there in those rocking chairs and stare out at the layers and layers of mountains for hours.

Continue reading Mt. Pisgah Campground, Frying Pan Fire Tower, Graveyard Fields, BRPW 9/28-30/18

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Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway 8/31-9/3/18

 

With the children back at school, it’s open travel season. Whoo-hoo!!! We hit the road to explore farther than we had ever been on the Parkway in NC. We have camped at Peaks of Otter and Meadows of Dan on the Parkway in Virginia, but took other routes to get there. As we entered the Doughton Park Recreation Area, we loved the split rail fencing and ridge top meadows on either side of the Parkway. Just before the campground, captivated, we had to stop at the Alligator Back Overlook to view the spectacular pre-sunset sky, lit up with gorgeous light on the clouds and an amazing view. It was quite a welcome and a good indicator of what was to come that weekend.

We drove into the small RV section of the Doughton Campground, MP 239 to our assigned campsite #A14, but decided it was the least desirable on the loop, not wooded and on top of the neighbors. We spoke with the ranger then chose a better wooded, more private spot #A4, just thrilled that Labor Day weekend there were any available. We have found much success getting non-reservable available campsites at the Parkway campgrounds, which is great. Sadly, the entire campground was made to suffer one travel trailer running their generator all hours permitted…We had gotten there at dark, so decided to stay the night then evaluate our other options in the morning. After our morning hike the following day, the generator was at full tilt, disturbing the peace and serenity, we had gone there to enjoy. We hiked over to the Doughton Van/Tent Campground across the Parkway. Thankfully, we were able to get a perfect wooded site that Happy just barely fit in. Site #B20 had an amazing dropped campfire/picnic area on a creek below the parking pad. It was just what we were looking for. Great move to the quiet tent area.

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Grayson Highlands State Park, VA, West Jefferson, NC, Blue Ridge Parkway, & Davidson River Campground 7/27-31/18

Wow! What a fabulous 9th anniversary celebration we had. Instead of a 5-star Hotel, we did a 5-billion star one, camping in the Virginia Highlands. Grayson Highlands was a bucket list state park. I am so happy we finally made it there, what a magical place.

We camped at the overflow Chestnut Hollow Horse Campground, because the Hickory Ridge Campground was full when we called to reserve a spot. We ended up being pleasantly surprised and were happy with the campground and campsite. It was heavily wooded and shady, although the spots were a little close. Thankfully, we liked our tent dweller neighbors, a precious family from Greensboro with four children, boy age 10mos, and three girls 3, 5, & 7yo. The girls wanted a tour of the van where the 3yo gave the bed the jump test. It was so cute! The girls adopted us the rest of the weekend and had a hard time when we left. We’re hoping to see them at LEAF Festival in Black Mtn. in October. The parents were interested after we told them about it and recommended it as “Woodstock for families”. While camping, you meet the nicest people.

After getting set up in site #12, we had time for a quick hike from the campground to Massie Gap before dark. We took the Horse Trail East, to the Cabin Creek Trail, to the Massie Gap Parking Area. We were greeted by a field full of wild ponies just below the parking area. They were absolutely beautiful and so tame. It was such a thrill! My favorite was a tiny gray 14yo stallion, who, I later learned, the rangers call, Fabio. He is the smallest, but the leader of the herd. There were also, two little foals with the herd. It was such an amazing experience seeing them in their natural habitat, albeit too close and familiar with humans. One pony did get a little frisky and run off another when someone was giving the aggressor food. I wish people would not do that, but people will be people…

Continue reading Grayson Highlands State Park, VA, West Jefferson, NC, Blue Ridge Parkway, & Davidson River Campground 7/27-31/18

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“Hollywood”, Rained Out Craft Fair, Pink Beds, Mt. Pisgah 7/20-22/18

This weekend was a lemons to lemonade weekend. Went to Brevard Friday to camp at “Hollywood” in order to be ready, bright and early Saturday morning for the Relay for Life Craft Fair, where I planned on showing my jewelry. I cooked dinner at Holly’s while she wrapped up her tie-dying to get ready for the show the next day. The three of us, humans and our four Jack Russells (our two and Holly’s two) had a lovely evening, as always. Hollywood is hippie and puppy heaven atop a mountain in Pisgah Forest. Grateful to have such a dear friend with such an amazing site for us to camp.

Sadly, we woke very early Saturday morning to severe thunderstorms. Called the craft fair organizers, who cancelled due to weather. Two hours later, just as the craft fair would have begun, the sun was out, the sky was clear and blue. I was beyond frustrated and disappointed, as were Holly and Odile, who were going to have artist booths at the show too. We had all done a lot of work to prepare. Wiley and I left Holly’s, went to the Transylvania County Farmers Market, then decided to go hiking in Pisgah. We settled on Pink Beds, where we had not been in a few years. Boy, did we hit it right! We had the place to ourselves with the wild flowers putting on quite the show. There was even a field of sunflowers! What a way to turn my day around. It gets better. While picnicking after our hike, Wiley suggested, we go up to Mt. Pisgah to see if we could get a campsite for the night. I welcomed the suggestion and we were off up the mountain to the Parkway. We stopped at several overlooks en route to the campground. Perfect afternoon for fabulous long range views.

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Black Mountain Campground, Pisgah National Forest 7/7-9/18

We had a perfect few days at my favorite WNC campground, Black Mountain Campground on the South Toe River, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the base of Mt Mitchell. It was just the right place to recover from the house full we had July 4th week. We were totally unplugged, just soaking in the peace, serenity, and beauty. Loved our riverfront spot, campsite #6.

I had a foot injury, so the 5 mi. hike from the campground up to Mt Mitchell was off the table until next time. Fortunately, there were so many easy level hikes right from our campsite that I was able to do. One of the most lush and beautiful places on earth, a mere 1/2 mi from our site, the 75ft Setrock Creek Falls is absolutely magical. We saw a red newt, who posed for closeups, then Nigel swam and played ball in the shallow water at the base, while Pippa hunted, and I protected the salamanders from her.

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Linville Falls-Blue Ridge Parkway, Catawba Falls 6/1-3/18

We spent the weekend at one of our favorite places to camp, Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been. It is truly unplugged. We had no cell service or internet all weekend. It was just what Wiley needed after a stressful few months of work.

Continue reading Linville Falls-Blue Ridge Parkway, Catawba Falls 6/1-3/18