So, we are really trying to kick it into high gear here with the exploring of the Carolinas! The "bucket list" has been on the fridge for...oh I don't know, only four months now and the only thing we checked off was Bojangles, haha. So we packed up last Saturday and decided to just head out and see some stuff. When we first found out we were moving here everyone was like, "OH YOU HAVE TO GO HIKING!" Which is not something we've ever done. No one hikes in Michigan. (Do we? Maybe in the UP? Definitely not where we're from.) Or in Nebraska, or Illinois, and definitely not in Texas. So this was new for us. We looked up a bunch of trails in the mountains, and had a few in mind, but decided to kind of just head out that way and do what we do best - wing it.
I was actually kind of crazy and paranoid that we were going to be gone all day and I was going to get starving/end up at a gas station with only chips and candy bars to eat, so I packed an F ton of food to take. Like, could have lived for three days out in the wilderness, haha. We bought this cooler a long time ago, and the only time I ever remember using it was when we bought a mini keg...so times are changing, haha. (Saturday day drinking vs. Saturday healthy activities...?)
So we left around 9AM (I woke up at 5 to workout first, what what!) and headed out towards Asheville, NC which is about two hours from us. (Or that's what it felt like, I wasn't driving lol.) About an hour into the drive I started researching and trying to decide what trail we should hike, and I'd be like, "this one looks good" and then look at the map and it was like out of our way, or I'd be like, "hmm, where does this start? There's no address? I don't get it." So when we stopped at a rest area John took over and figured it out. (Couldn't live without him, I swear.) There was actually one that I really wanted to do where PART OF HUNGER GAMES WAS FILMED, but it wasn't really long enough. No point in driving all that way to walk one mile. Maybe next time though because I just would die. (I imagine that scene where Peta is hurt and they're under a waterfall and they kiss for the first time, lol.)
We really were heading towards Asheville though because we wanted to hit the Biltmore Mansion, but apparently you can't even see it unless you pay the admission fee. Which is like $50 a person, and I wouldn't do that unless we were going to make a day of it there. I really just wanted to be able to drive up and get a picture of Ted in front and leave, haha. Oh well. But we did decide to make a pit stop there anyways to walk around town and have lunch because, why not? So, Asheville, impressions: very hipster. Like 1,000 breweries, and graffiti everywhere and gangs of people with dreads sitting out on the streets. There was a kid (kid = about 21 year old) next to us at lunch decked out in Patagonia and Birkenstocks...and HAD A MULLET. I couldn't believe it. Is the mullet back?? Poor thing is going to regret that one someday....
I took this picture because I was like, "we are so not dressed cool enough to be here." John said we were dressed very "mid-west," haha. So anyways, we ended up at a...brewery. We always use this app called "bring fido" to find places that are dog friendly, and this place had 5 stars and the food looked good, and we just happened to drive past it and find a parking space. So basically, the stars just aligned.
This is a pretty great hipster photo if I do say so myself. John got a beer and a burger and I got a chicken/kale salad that was very, very good. (Even though his fries smelled soo, so good...) It had quinoa and cashews and grated ginger, and I ate every last bite and was so stuffed. (Not to mention I already had snacks prior to this in the car, lol. Of course.)
Then we headed towards the trail John had found, which was apparently some national forest. Pisgah National Forest to be exact. (I have a question....are you allowed to pee in National Forests? Just asking...) I really started freaking out when we got close and were getting into the mountains. I love that shit. But the drive into the park was actually pretty scary. I'm on the other side here, but on the drivers side it was like looking down a cliff, and for some reason the road felt realllly skinny. Maybe not made for trucks, haha.
So when we finally got there, we had no idea where the trail actually started. This is why it was so confusing to me, there's not like a sign that says "start hiking here!" So we just guessed and parked where some other cars were and starting walking down the road...and walking...and walking, and finally we were like, "okay we're definitely just on the road still..." So John stayed with Ted and I walked/ran back to the truck and drove to meet them. Long story short, we parked closer, figured out where the trail was and pretended to know what we were doing, haha.
I was REALLY tired almost immediately because me and cardio (I consider almost everything cardio...) are not friends. The first part of the hike was almost all up hill. This guy and girl rode past us on bikes and he had FRICKING WEIGHTS ON HIS ANKLES. Then another couple passed us and she was FRICKING PREGNANT. I was like, "awesome..." I was almost hoping John would be like, "let's just go home" because it was pretty hot out too. Luckily this waterfall was towards the beginning because once I saw it I was like, "THIS IS AMAZING. I LOVE HIKING!!!" Ted was a bit of a handful here though. We still had him on the leash at this point because he wanted IN the water, haha. So we took turns holding onto him and then the other climbed/hopped rocks to get closer to the fall. I feel like maybe I just really haven't seen the world because I was freaking out and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
My goal is to take as many selfies in front of cool shit and someday to frame them all together. Unfortunately though my face always looks like this, haha. Or I cut the top of Johns head off...
So after a while we came to this like "fork" aka choose-your-own-path type shit, and yes there was a sign...but WHO KNOWS what kind of nature language that was in, so we just kept right and realized after a while we were not on the walking path anymore, haha. We think it was more of the "biking" path because it was wider and less bumpy/woodsy. (I'm making NO sense.) But we did find it again at the next "fork" so once we got back on that path, it was way cooler. The walking trail was much more intense, like jumping across streams and running downhill. I was so into it. I felt just like Katniss...
And Ted had THE time of his life. I keep thinking back to it now and how he was the HAPPIEST we've ever seen him. It's been a while since he's been able to be off-leash and just go wild, so he was having a blast. He would run way ahead of us and we'd be like, "TED, WAIT." It looked something like this - Ted running, John running after him, and me running after John, haha. But it made me so, so happy. If anything we have to do this again just for him.
Another waterfall that we couldn't get quite so close to. I still Katnissed up and tried to though.
Whenever there was water, Ted would run right in and lay down, haha. He is so weird. He does this in the bathtub at home too..s.o I feel like I taught him this weird behavior. I kept being like, "John he's going to get swept away!!" Because it was like...moving, you know like a river...
(Obviously, being outdoorsy is new for me, lol.)
(^From the drive home.) The hike took us a little over an hour and a half, and we think it was about five miles total. When we got home and looked at the map though (we had NO cell phone service once we got into the mountains, so that was slightly terrifying/awesome) we realized we could have done A LOT more. But that was kind of the perfect hike for us as first timers. When we finished, we finally had our little picnic in the back of the truck and then headed home. (After John ate his in about three seconds and then went, "are you almost done?" over and over until I was done, haha. Very relaxing picnic.)
It was by far the best thing we've done since living here. I feel bad, we've spent so much time just hating it here, that we haven't even tried. It actually makes no sense now that I'm thinking about it, we hate where we live in particular so we sit at home and stay there on the weekends instead of getting out? Lol. So, not doing that anymore. We're going to try to get out every weekend now. I'm thinking maybe this for next weekends adventure?
Until then...maybe more workout posts? Just kidding...maybe.