We packed up our car and headed a few hours north to western NC a few weeks ago. It’s amazing what a little change of scenery can do for you. The little place we called home for a couple of days had a stream flowing through the backyard. I may already be an emotional person, but just thinking about how it felt to be there makes my eyes weepy. Deeply breathing in cool air, seeing a sky filled with stars and not just the brightest ones, taking random walks on publicly open lands and trails - everything that isn’t exactly easily located where we are. Everything here in our immediate vicinity is private. I really need SC to take some notes from NC.

We spent a serious chunk of our time adventuring around the Cherokee portion of the National Park. I was, by far, the most excited person buying, and then getting stamped, a National Parks Passport book. I have no shame. The Oconaluftee River was simply magical. I daydream now of living in a tiny house right along that river.

Then there was Cataloochee Valley. It’s a beautiful place. A bit sad though, if you read the history on it. It’s a place you walk around and can only imagine what it was like to live there - but still yet knowing that the families that once occupied it, could still be living their lives out there if it weren’t taken over by the park services years ago. Of course that’s how it is for any and every other place and lands. There’s a delicate balance of visiting places and taking in their beauty, but also remembering and thinking of those that sacrificed dearly. I think it’s important to always remember them.

In the last few years I’ve seen so much stuff with the John Muir quote “The mountains are calling and I must go”. Do you know what I’m talking about? Yeah. I smirked at those kinds of things a lot. But I get it now. I think. I take back my smirk and snide comments on making something hip to make a buck. I’m ready to pack our little family back up and seek more adventures up in the mountains.