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Winter Wanderings Day #1, Sapphire, Brevard, NC

And here we go! I got the house all cleaned up, ready for showings, and hit the road in my car to Brevard, yesterday morning. Wiley had a dental appointment in Cashiers, first thing in the morning, so he took the van then drove to Brevard. We took both vehicles, because they both have to be serviced in Greenville, our next destination. Happy before we head south then we will leave my car there, while we are traveling for the next 3wks, picking it up when we return for Wiley’s company meetings mid-February. When the house sells, we will be selling my car.

Yesterday was a great day in Brevard, despite the rain. My soul sister, Holly and I went out for sushi to celebrate our shared New Year’s Eve birthdays then I met my wonderful artist friend, Betsy for coffee/tea. She gave me the most beautiful little ceramic owl ornaments, she had made. I just love them! I was thrilled she liked the amazonite and hemp choker, I gave her. It was great to see her and catch up too. After tea, I swung by my friend Dennis’. We have been friends for 17yrs and have become family. Dennis is like a second father to me. We were friends in Greenville then he moved to Brevard and I to Sapphire, so we still live close, despite the fact we both moved. So grateful for Dennis in my life.

After seeing my friends, I got my hair trimmed. Not to worry, nothing dramatic. I am still a long haired hippie. Between the rains, Wiley and the puppies hiked at lunch on the Eastatoe Trail in Pisgah National Forest and after work they’d played ball and hunted at Hap Sampson Park. Wiley and I met at Holly’s “Hollywood” in Pisgah Forest in the evening. Sadly, Holly and the kids were not home. They were at Braden’s basketball game at Carolina Day in Asheville. We hung out in the house with Greta and Onus, Holly’s two Jack Russells for a while after the four puppies had their fill of chasing each other around the backyard. We adore Greta and Onus, like a niece and nephew. Nigel and Pippa, being like cousins with them. Greta and Onus are couch puppies, just like our two, as you can see in the picture. Also, check out Holly’s Mardi Gras tree and dreamy jungle sunroom. After visiting with the puppies, we returned to the van to eat dinner and hunker down for the night. Still recovering and having not regained my strength totally, since having the flu, I was exhausted. I am so happy to have my health and energy back, I may have overdone it, which is so me. I was in need of a good night’s sleep, as were the puppies after their big play date.

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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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Asheville School Move-in, Rocky Bluff Campground, & Max Patch 8/17-18/18

The morning we left to take Miles back to school, we got the call confirming his mono test was positive. What a way to start senior year…

One of the perks of being a senior at Asheville School is move-in day a day early and senior banquet prior to the underclassman arriving. We got Miles moved in and all settled, said our goodbyes, then made a snap decision to head up to Hot Springs to camp at Rocky Bluff in order to hike Max Patch on the AT at the NC/TN border, a longtime bucket list hike, the following day. Ashe was home packing for her big move to NOLA and Tulane. I would be leaving Wiley and the puppies that coming week to take go with Ashe to get moved in and acclimated to her new city. Rather than going to hang with the hippies for two nights at Darkstar Orchestra at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mtn, as planned, we decided a quiet couple of days camping and hiking together was in order, after all the craziness of traveling with the family then getting both kids ready for school. We blew off Dark Star and drove up the mountain from Asheville to Hot Springs. We had never been to this area of WNC before. Hot Springs was tiny and cute. We just drove on through, eager to get to the campground to see if we could get a campsite, if we couldn’t, we were just going to go to Darkstar.

We arrived at Rocky Bluff in Pisgah National Forest and were thrilled there was availability. The campground was a little rough with what looked like a few folks living there permanently, but it was ok. I am not adding it to my list of favorite campgrounds, but was torn, because the immediate area is gorgeous and the hiking from the campground was wonderful. Upon arrival, we hiked from our campsite on the lush 1.2 mi. Spring Creek Nature Trail through a hardwood-pine forest, rhododendron, wildflowers, mushrooms galore, and along the cascading mountain stream known for its trout fishing. Once part of the Brook’s farm an old house foundation, rock fences and a cemetery remain. Half way through our hike, the sky opened up and poured on us. We raced back to Happy. We were drenched and had to hang all our clothes up to dry in the van. Nigel and Pippa were not happy…To add insult to injury, it thundered and lightninged throughout the night, which terrifies them. Poor puppies had a rough night.

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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.

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

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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.

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