A Glimpse of Summer

It only took ten days, but we were finally able to pick up the last pair of glasses we had ordered. And in doing so, we were officially free to head on down the road. So we said farewell to South Carolina as we crossed the border back into North Carolina. And now we are spending a couple of days in a cute little town in the Appalachian Mountains.

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We are only about 40 miles away from where we will be spending the summer, but since we are not scheduled to arrive at our RV park until Friday, we decided to do a little exploring. After we swung by Rob’s new place of employment so he could pick up the wet suit he had ordered, we set about scoping out the river he is going to be rafting. It is a nice looking river and I don’t think he is going to mind showing up or work four days a week, which is how many days the river is fed by the reservoir. The town is located in the mountains and is quiet right now, but once the rafting season begins, it will be thick with tourists and adventurers.

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The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is right next door along with the Appalachian Trail. Completing the AT in its entirety is on our bucket list, so today we decided to get a little taste of it. Running from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the 2,181 mile trail covers 14 states. In about five years, we hope to be among those who set out to complete the trail. Today, though, we enjoyed a very small piece of it. I am so grateful that our kids love being outside and in the woods. I have the feeling that a lot of our time this summer will be spent on the trail. And on the water.

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The Bridges of Greenville County

With a few days of down time and some beautiful weather, we decided to head out in search of a couple of South Carolina’s historic bridges. As it turns out, the oldest bridge, built in 1820, and the only remaining covered bridge, from 1909, are within about 10 miles of each other. We enjoyed a beautiful country drive that took us in quite the loop around the area.

After visiting the bridges, we ventured over to Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina. We were looking forward to heading up to the top, but upon learning that it would cost us $51, we decided that it was probably just as nice from the bottom…

Snow, South Carolina Style

Coming from an area that always gets too much snow, it has been somewhat strange not having any snow at all. South Carolina must have known that the kids were missing at least a little bit of the fluffy white stuff, because she shared some with us. It didn’t last long, but it stuck around long enough for the kids to make a few balls for a snowman that was never quite put together. And halfway through their snowball fight the snow was mostly all gone, so they had to resort to pinecones. And an occasional deer poop or two.

Throw in a nature trail, a peaceful lake, a playground and a crane, and it made for a near perfect day.

Charleston

Last weekend we made a run down to Charleston, South Carolina to visit one of Rob’s old friends. They had worked together for about seven years, but had not seen each other for almost three, so it was time to get them together. They had a great time catching up and Ben was a wonderful tour guide. He took us to beach, to Fort Moultrie, to dinner at one of the most amazing BBQ restaurants ever and took us on a beautiful walking tour. We were only there for about 24 hours, but it was time well spent.

The highlight, of course, was the Atlantic Ocean! The weather was absolutely perfect for walking on the beach, although there was a $1040 fine for wading. (Seriously?) Catheryn collected more shells than she could carry, so after she began handing them to me to carry for her, I was forced to “accidentally” drop some. William had fun gathering dead crabs, spongy seaweed and miscellaneous body parts from jelly fish. Nathan was content to drag a stick through the sand and occasionally stopped to dazzle us with his sand art. I love how different they all are. They had never seen the Atlantic before, so this was quite a treat.

One of my favorite things about Charleston was the people! I couldn’t get over how many people were outside. Runners, walkers, bike riders, dog walkers, you name it. There are so many places where you rarely see anyone outside, so to see so many in one city was pretty amazing.

Rob enjoyed Charleston so much that he would like to spend next summer there. It is quite the tourist community, so finding jobs for the season shouldn’t be too hard. I guess we will have to see next year when summer rolls back around.

A Little Catch-Up

The funny thing about life is that it keeps on marching, regardless of whether or not you are paying attention. These last few weeks have been a blur of activity and I am not even sure where to begin in this little game of catch-up. Nor am I sure exactly where the time went.

Our time in King’s Mountain State Park went by way too fast, even though we did end up staying for two full weeks. We all loved the freedom that came with our little spot in the woods and none of us wanted to leave, but alas, all good things must eventually come to an end. And more good things are sure to follow.

We are still in South Carolina, only a little bit further north. We have left the woods behind in order to catch up on a few needed things. Glasses for Rob and William, brakes for the van, you know, all the painful things that you put off until it becomes impossible to put them off any longer. We will be boon-docking it here for another week or so while we wait for new glasses to arrive.

We did end up with quite the job predicament. Rob was offered a job as a white-water raft guide of the Pigeon River for the summer, I was offered a job at an amusement park, and then, to make things a little more interesting, I received a call from a kite company from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. After much thinking, pondering, debating, pacing and lost sleep, we have decided that our best option is to go with our original plan: the Pigeon River, Great Smoky Mountains, white water. We need to be in Tennessee by March 4 so Rob can begin training.

Overall, we have all been doing really well. The kids enjoyed the snow this afternoon and I am looking forward to spring. I know it is not far off because trees and bushes here have already begun to bloom. I do not remember the last time I saw flowers in February. We are back in the land of internet once again, and I look forward to catching up with all of you. It has been too long…

And just for fun, here are a few random pictures from the last few weeks.

 

Remarkable

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of
trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which
is infinite, which is yes.  ~e.e. cummings

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Today marks the end of our week here at King’s Mountain State Park. None of us were ready to leave. We weren’t ready to rejoin civilization. Or to wash the smell of the campfire out of our clothes. We hadn’t even had a chance to see and do all there was to see and do. There were trails we had yet to hike, water we had yet to fish, sunrises we had yet to witness.

How could we possibly leave now?

We couldn’t. So we didn’t. We decided to stay for another week, because sometimes you have to hold on to a good thing. A great thing.

The kids are absolutely loving life. They are running and playing and throwing leaves and riding their bikes and chasing squirrels and simply being… kids. And they are sleeping like the dead at night. I am loving the fact that I can simply let them be. Oh sure, I keep my eyes on them and make sure they are being safe and staying close to home, but I don’t have to follow them around anymore. I don’t have to worry about what they put in their mouthes or up their noses.

And their new-found freedom has brought me a little as well.

I find that I have a little more time to read, to write, to run. To breathe. I feel as though my batteries are finally beginning to recharge. There is not a doubt in my mind that we are exactly where we need to be right now.

Rob is finally ready to hit the water. We picked him up a fishing license this afternoon and realized a few seconds too late that we were in North Carolina when we bought it, not South Carolina. So tomorrow morning, as he slips out into the darkness in search of solitude, he will have to go a few miles further down the road than planned. He won’t mind, though, just so long as he is able to get a line wet. Bringing home a catfish or two would be an added bonus. Whether they are from North Carolina or South Carolina won’t make a bit of difference.

So when the kids and I wake in the morning, the birds will be singing, the sun will be rising, and Rob will be fishing. And all will be right with the world.

They were right. It’s the little things that matter. It’s the little things make life… remarkable.

Rest and Relaxation

For almost a week now, we have been camped out at King’s Mountain State Park in South Carolina. We have been enjoying campfires and roasting everything we can get to stay on a stick and the kids are filthy dirty and running around like wild cats (and loving every minute of it!) This is what we were seeking. Peace and quiet. No schedules. Our week here is up on the 4th, but we are thinking another week may be just what the doctor ordered.

The only down side is that our internet does not work at camp, so I have fallen behind on my posts and updates. (Although for some crazy reason it is working right now, so I am trying to make this quick so I don’t push my luck!) I will have to fill in some gaps at a later date, but for now, Happy February!!

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