New core value

Thursday October 31, 2019

I’ve added a new core value to my top 5 core values…ADVENTURE! I just can’t love my life without it. Most financial advisors will ask you for your top five core values to find out what truly motivates you and to determine what you care most deeply about. That way they can help you plan for the future and use money as a tool to help you reach your goals that align with your values. These are my top 5 values:

1. HEALTH–If you have ever been sick or have a chronic illness you know how important this is. To me this is the foundation of life, because if you’re not healthy and feel good, how do you truely enjoy life?

2. ADVENTURE–This what makes me tick! It gets my blood pumping, heart racing and giddy with excitement. It makes me set goals and smile big when I achieve them.

3. FREEDOM–I long for the day when I take a leap of faith and cut the strings that hold me to a job that I stay at for years on end. I am looking forward to the time when I can just work a few months out of the year and be free to do what I like the rest of the time. But fear is a bitch and has keep me rooted to this spot. What is fear? When I take a look at it, it is nothing more than the lies I tell myself because of my insecurities. Maybe if I just ask myself “what do I have to lose?” I will realise it’s not nearly as much as I have to gain, if it’s anything at all.

4. HAPPINESS–The joy when everything comes together, to feel greatful and blessed for all the wealth in my life. Doing the things that inspire me and make me feel energized.

5. SECURITY–The rainy day funds to back me up when thing don’t go according to plan or for challanges along the way, are taking longer to build up than I would like. But every day is one day closer to my goal. Even thought I don’t know what that goal (money needed for 6 mos of travel) currently is. Oh and the 401K for the end of life is far from ideal and definetly won’t support me at this time in my life, but I continue to add to it for the future. I wish I had the know how to start much earlier than I did. I believe this is something that should be tought at a very early age in schools amoung other things, but isn’t.

My Mom has rented a house in Franklin, NC for a few months this fall. I have planned a couple of trips up to do some hiking. The first trip, this weekend is just for a long weekend. The weather is a complete mix of freezing cold, rain, fog and some beautiful sunny days, although chilly. I wanted to make a couple of stops on the way up to see some waterfalls, but there was all day rain forcasted for the drive. When we were close to the first turn off for one of the waterfalls I wanted to hike to I looked at Jim and asked him if he would be willing to do a hike in the rain. It was only a very light misty rain. He agreed so off we went. Some times I think he doesn’t know what he is agreeing to, but you won’t hear me complain. There is just something about hiking in the rain that adds to the adventure. My hiking buddy, SHORTCUT says “it is good for the soul”.

Shortly after turning off the main highway we were on a dirt road. I think I have been down more dirt roads in the van (by the way, her name is Vandy) than I ever was in my car. Most waterfall hikes seem to involve a dirt road.

The hike to Minnehaha Falls was short (.2 mi one way). As we were starting our hike there was another couple and their two dogs sightly behind us. We aren’t the only crazies out here!

It was a short but pretty hike up. Lots of beautifully colored leaves covering the trail and the rain ramained misty UNTIL we reached the top and it started to rain harder. We took a few pictures and quickly headed back to Vandy.

The falls were beautiful and had plenty of water flowing since they have had so much rain lately. I was really glad we didn’t skip this one.

I’m not sure Jim enjoyed it. I think he just endures it for me. I’m still happy to have him along.

The tempertures dropped fast this evening and we soon had a fire in the fireplace. The low tempertures for the whole weekend are forecasted to be 27-30 degrees. Much colder then Jim and I would like to see, but it is nice to have an evening and early morning fire in the fireplace. This whole weekend Jim had a nice fire going and a cup of hot chocolate ready for me when I got back from walking Berkley.

Friday November 1, 2019

Today we were off to Gorges State Park to see Bearwallow Falls and Rainbow Falls.

Bearwallow Falls

Today was beautiful. A crisp cool breeze and sun was shinning brightly without a cloud in the sky. The color along the trail was amazing with all the fallen leaves. Just a perfect hiking day.

Our rock climber Berkley. He seemed to be loving it out here today.

My Mom didn’t want me to post this picture, but what do kids do when you tell them not to do something? They do exactually what you tell them not to do. Hehe. It is hard to see but in this picture, but Mom is being a badass rock hopping across a small creek.

The views have all been spectacular with all the rain that they have had up here.

As I am making my way up to Rainbow Falls I can see water spray from the falls as I am climbing up the last steep section of trail just before the falls. When I finely crest that last section and see the falls. My eyes totally bug out of my head. It was total amazment. Kinda like Clark Graswold’s expression when the christmas lights finely light up on his house in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I was in total awe, being blessed by nature’s glory.

Rainbow Falls. A massive amount of water. There was so much water spray at the top you couldn’t help not getting wet. I have never seen anything like this in my life. This is a must stop and hike if you are even in the area.

On the way back to the cabin. We drive by Bridal Vail Falls. It is road side and at one time you use to be able to drive right under the falls.

Bust Your Butt Falls pictured above was also road side on the way back to the cabin.

Saturday November 2, 2019

This morning was supper foggy and plenty cold. I enjoyed an early morning fire in the fireplace with a hot chocolate. Today we went into downtown to walk the shops and stop at a local brewery called the Lazy Hiker. We also walked the local river walk for a couple of miles so I could get some type of exercise fix for the day.

Sunday November 3, 2019

I started the day sitting in front of the fireplace with roaring fire and a mug of hot chocolate again. I can get use to this! Thanks, Babydoll for spoiling me!

Today we are hiking a small section of the Bartram trail up to Williams Pulpit lookout area. This is the crew as we head out on trail.

Trail this beautiful puts me in my happy place. I love being out here.

Jim and Berkley enjoying the view from Williams Pulpit.

Trail side waterfall.

View from Williams Pulpit.

My tramily (trail family).

Unfortunally, it is time to return home, but I have been blessed to spend this time with my family and enjoyed hiking with them.

Another Adventure

Sunday October 6, 2019

I’m off again. This time it is at FD Rossevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, GA. Which is about 6.5 hours from the house. It is unfortunate but I have to travel a good ways to get to any mountainous areas to hike. I chose this park because of the amout of hiking trails that I can get to from the campground itself. This way I will be able to leave the van parked for the whole weekend.

This has to be one of the most stunning campground registration offices I have ever seen. The picture below, take on one of my early morning walks, is the view from behind this building. Most mornings when I start out it is still dark so I just stick to the paved roads, which had some really good elevation. It equated to sore shins after just the first day! It may also have something to do with the number of birthday’s I’ve had or just the fact that I live in Florida at an elevation of 23 feet. I’ll blame it on both.

This lake is in the center of the campgound. Campers on one side and cabins on the other.

Generally my days started with early morning walks while Berkley was still lounging in bed. I would get in about 3-5 miles of walking in before going back to pick him up. Which is our normal routine at home. Then we would head out for another 1-4 miles depending on how much I was willing to carry him for after he decides he has enough.

The trails around the campground were well maintained and easy to walk on. I saw some interesting things on these trails. Such as a hinged door build into the hollow of a tree or a bird house way out in the middle of the woods.

Some of the campground hosts had their halloween decorations out.

Berkley spent his afternoons alternating between laying in the shade and sun.

Bummed

Saturday September 7, 2019

Today is another waterfall bust…I am heading out today to begin my trip home. I planned to stop at two places on the way south today. The first is a fee to enter area. I get there 45 minutes before they open at 10am and the gate is locked. The parking lot for the other falls that I want to hike to is just half a mile down the road. So I decide to go there. The parking lot described in the guide book turns out to be a small pullout on a very narrow road. The pullout may fit two cars, but it is at a terrible slope and I chicken out and don’t want to park there. It probably would have been fine, but I was nervous about it. So I decide to just go and continue heading south. I am very close to the South Carolina state border. I will stop at the welcome center and see if there is anything else to stop at on my way home.

After stoping at the welcome center there is nothing really to stop at on my way home. I’m bummed. I do collect info on other areas of South Carolina to visit in the future. I stop at the Georgia welcome center and do the same. Once leaving there I pick the closest RV resort to spend the night at. It is only 8 miles away. It is after 4 pm. I am ready to be in relax mode. I asked for a shaded site since the temperature gauge on the van is showing 99 degrees. The site they give me is in the full sun. I pick out a shaded spot and park there for the night. I started with some not so legal parking why not finish up the trip with some more. The office was closed for the day when pulled in so I can’t change it. I did notice when I picked up my info taped to the office door, that it was the only one. So hopefully the site I took is not someone elses.

I should arrive home tomorrow, late morning. Then it is back to work on Monday. Next trip is early October. I will start planning it soon. I have an idea where I will be going.

To be continued…

Blessed Day

Friday September 6, 2019

High Falls

Where do I begin? Today was amazing. Beautiful falls. Greating hiking trails. Amazing weather. I definitly felt blessed today.

My first stop was Key Falls. It is off a tributary of the French Broad River. The water flow was pretty low and hard to see in my pictures. You may have to zoom in to see better.

Key Falls

Then off to the Dupont State Forest to see Triple Falls, High Falls and Hooker Falls. They are all well worth the trip. They all can be hiked to from the same parking area. I manged to park perfectly today. The key is no lines in the parking area! All three falls are on the Little River. I did see a couple of people fly fishing and I saw two yesterday on my way down the gravel road from Courthouse Falls. Fly fishing seems to be big in this area. There is a fly fishing outfitter just down the road from the campground I am staying at.

One thing’s for sure about Triple Falls. When you see it you won’t question how it got its name! This waterfall was featured the The Hunger Games. This is where Katniss finds Peeta camouflaged against the rock.

Triple Falls

One my way to High Falls I saw some furry butts. There was a large group of lamas. I didn’t stop other than to take a few pictures. There were so many people there I just passed by.

When I got to High Falls I saw some naked butts! A couple of skinny dippers with no shame at all.

High Falls was massive with a huge amout of water flow.

By the time I got to Hooker Falls it was afternoon and the Falls were crowded. There were people picnicing, swimming and sunbathing.

Hooker Falls

This was another huge waterfall with a massave amount of water flow. You may recognize the falls from The Last of the Mohicans.

Hooker falls

Berkley has got this figure out. After hiking for a while he just calls it quiting time. Then I carry him the rest of the way in my pack.

This is how we roll.

Once back at camp Berkley finds a sunny spot to rest in.

I enjoy a glass of wine while working on some continuing education credits to maintain my dental hygienist liscense.

In the late afternoon the chickens come back an take up residence in my camp.

This is the view from the bridge that I have to drive over to get to the campground. There are campsites right on this river. The French Broad River.

Courthouse Falls

Thursday September 5, 2019

Courthouse Falls

Aonther gravel road! It is a very slow 3 miles to Courthouse Falls. It was worth it. The falls are beautiful and I am the only one here.

Parked on the side of the gravel road.

I stop again after making it back to the paved road and dig out the gravel from my tires.

Mills Shoals (French Broad Falls)

There are two falls here with an old mill right next to one of the falls. The old mill is now Living Waters Ministry. They allow the public to park on their property to view the falls.

Bird Rock Falls

A short walk down trail you come to Bird Rock Falls. The walk is beautiful along the French Broad River. I wished I brought lunch along with me. There are plenty of rocks to sit on and it is a gorgeous day. There are plenty of places to hop in the water if you need to cool off, but the water is much to cold for this Florida girl.

There is no cell service in the area. I drive a little out of the way toward town to call Jim to let him know I am doing great. Then I head back to camp to plan out the next days adventures. Hopefully without gravel roads.

I do a little reading before bed.

Waterfall bust…

Wednesday September 4, 2019

I wake up with cold feet. Berkley stays in his cocoon until the sun comes up.

It is cool and breezy on our morning walk. We pass a camper guest headed to the bathrooms with a coffee in one hand and a paperback in the other…

Today was a waterfall bust…I planned to go to Eastatoe Falls. It is on private property. And it was closed today. This is what is pictured in my guide book. It looked amazing, but will have to save it for another day.

I have moved campgrounds. I am now further south in lower elevation and it doesn’t feel as cool here.

I had to cross this bridge to get to the campground. Mild panic attach!

I am camped just a short ways from this river and can hear it from the van. It looks like a lazy river that you can float down in an inner tube.

Campsite for the next three nights.

Kara, this one is for you. Had a few of these girls/guys visit me last night. Didn’t notice them until one was standing on my welcome mat! When I look out there are about six of them in my campsite.

Skinny Dip Falls

Tuesday September 3, 2019

Skinny Dip Falls

Well it’s another day of not being up and out early. It is so beautiful here. I’m in relax mode, and it’s hard not to be. We get our normal late start again.

Shortly after getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway, my phone starts to go crazy with message alerts. I have service! Whoowho! I find an overlook and pull over. My first order of business is to call my mother in law. It is her birthday today. Happy Birthday Diane! My in laws live on a boat on the east coast of Florida with Hurrican Dorian barreling toward them. I get the latest updates of the storm from her. It is now down to a class 3 from a class 5. Hopefully will stay off the coast of Florida and not make a direct hit. I pray the storm stays out to sea. I also call Jim and my Mom. Now another 45 minutes has passed, but I’m not stressing it. The falls I want to go to today are only 10 miles from the campground.

Skinny Dip Falls is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 417 directly across from an overlook. I believe it is a side trail off the Moutain to Sea trail that runs paraellel to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is definitly a MUST SEE! I could have sat here all day long. There are no signs of this being touristy. It seems like a hidden secret. You can also see Looking Glass Rock from the overlook here, but with the sun glare you could not see it well in my photos, so I didn’t include them.

Before I know it Berkley was more than half way down these stairs. I almost had a heart attack watching him. I would always carry him down stuff like this, but he was blazing trail this morning.

I easily find a place to park. There are only two other cars at the overlook. The walk to the falls is easy for an experienced hiker, but for the non-experienced it has some roots, stairs and elevation change. It is shaded and a very pleasant temperature this moring. The first sight of the falls is breath taking. The falls, the color of the pools at the bottom, the surrounding forest makes you never want to leave. It is so beautiful .

Trail to skinny Dip Falls

Graveyard Fields is the next stop, located at 418.8 on the BRP. I pull into a very full parking lot. I manage to find a parking spot, but can’t seem to get this beast into the spot stright. I really need to do some parking lot parking practice. This looks touristy. There are a lot of people here.

Lower Falls

There are two falls here, Upper and Lower Falls. I hike to Lower Falls first. It is beautiful and there are only a few people there. The hike to Upper Falls is almost 2 miles away. Berkley decides part way there that he is done. I pick him up and carry him the rest of the way to Upper Falls. We take a snack break once we reach the falls. Upper Falls is kinds of a let down after all the other falls I have seen lately. The hike getting there is the highlight. There is some climbing involved, but it is easy. The highlight is how shaded and cool it feels, like someone turned on the AC. For the return trip I put Berkley in my backpack that I wear on my front side. He likes to be in the front. I carry him the whole way back.

Upper Falls

We head back to the overlook where I had service this morning. I want to upload my blog, but don’t have enough service for that. While I am trying to schedule campgrounds for the next few nights, Berkley has found a sunny spot in the passanger set and is fast asleep.

We return to camp. I shower and relax for the rest of the evening. I fall sleep before 8pm. Berkley isn’t the only one that is tired.

Another one of my not so good parking jobs. I was lucky enough to find two parking spots side by side at the end of the lot. I passed all the other single spots. I managed to get in mostly in the spot. My right back tire is on the line.

My campsite for the next two nights.

Looking Glass Falls

Monday September 2, 2019

Sliding Rock Falls.

I wasn’t up as early as I wanted to be but it is vacation after all. I’m up at 6:45am and it’s chilly. I head out to walk Berkley and we find a trail along the gravel road we came in on. We head down it for about half a mile before Berkley wants to turn around. It feels so good to be out in nature on a trail again. Berkley seems to be enjoying it to, or maybe it is just the cooler weather. He is moving at a fast clip.

I have my day all planned out there are a few waterfalls along the main road, 276 that I turned off of. I just have to get back there from my 3 miles down this rough gravel road. I know it is a holiday weekend so things will be busy and I am still trying to master driving this van. I’ve already hit a tree branch on this trip in a Walmart parking lot. I wanted to park in the shade and there was a tree branch that was hanging to low for the height of the van. No damage done, but a reminder that you can’t park this big boy anywhere. I hope getting to these waterfall parking areas early they won’t be to full and it will be easy for me to get the van in and out of them.

Sliding Rock Falls.

My first stop is sliding rock falls. Apperently you can slide down the falls on a slick rock into a pool at the bottom. I have no cell service out here so I can’t google directions so going out early will allow me to take my time and go slow. I find it easily. There is a fee $3 per person to enter, but the gate is open and no one is at the gate house. I go in and find the falls. NO one is here and it is beautiful and quiet. I sure am glad I got here early since it looks like an amusment park. I bet this gets crazy. I can see where you can side down the falls with an area railed off to walk back up to do it all over again. I was lucky enough while here to find some signage to the other falls in the area with dirving directions to them.

Slick Rock Falls.

Looking Glass Falls is the next stop, but it is on the opposite side of the road and it is parallel parking only so I decide to continue on to slickrock falls and stop at looking glass falls on the way back. I would have never found slick rock falls without the driving directions listed at Sliding Rock Falls. Slickrock was off of 276 then down another gravel road. I though I had to hike to see the falls but it was very close to the road. There was a hiking trail, up to Looking Glass Rock so we proceded up. It was a nice uphill hike to get the heart going but Berkley seemed pretty winded and with his heart murmur I didn’t want to push him. We turned around before getting to Looking Glass Rock. I believe there is a lookout on the parkway where this can be viewed.

After exiting the gravel road and heading back to 276, I noticed that something sounded funny. I found a pullout and stopped to check things out. There was a lot of gravel stuck in my tires. I thought it best to remove it. I pried it out with the tip of a trekking pole (another use for trekking poles). Funny sound gone. Yea! I fixed something!

View along the Blie Ridge Parkway

Those of you following my blog may remember that I left my trekking poles in Oregon. I had to super glue one of them when it broke and was not longer collapsible and wouldn’t fit in my travel bag so I left them in a hiker box. Plus one of the tips broke off as well. They served me well for probally close to 3000 miles. So I have now claimed my husbands poles. He rarely uses them.

Looking Glass Falls

When I got back to Looking Glass Falls it was a ZOO! There were vicheles everwhere and even parked around the no parking signs! I will admit there were a few parallel parking spots left, but I didn’t want to try and squeese this big boy in those little spots. But within walking distance of the falls I found a pull in spot and grabbed it. The falls were beautiful, but way to may people for my liking.

The ZOO!

On the way back to Pisgah Campgrond, my home for the next two nights I stopped at Pink Beds Loop and picnic and hiking area. We walked for a short spell and headed back to the van. Berkley quickly laid down and was fast asleep. I proceded to make lasagna for my dinner tonight. I pretty much need to have the van running when I use any electrical appliance that draws a good bit of power. So I put my lasagna in the instant pot and would let it cook while I drove to the campgound. This way I wouldn’t have to run it just sitting idle. I put the instant pot in the kitchen sink so it wouldn’t go flying anywhere and headed to camp.

North Carolina

Sunday, September 1, 2019

My travel companion.

I am headed to North Carolina for some day hiking to waterfalls. I didn’t realize there were so many waterfalls in Transylvania County. I overnighted in South Carolina so I didn’t have to do the long drive all in one day. I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I was woken up at 11:15 with the AC spiting ice all over me. I know I heard it cycle earlier in the evening. So I’m not sure why it froze up on me. I turned it off and went back to bed although I didn’t go right back to sleep. Since I wasn’t sleeping I read for a couple of hours. I then woke up at 4:45am to pee and Berkley is just standing by the door waiting for me to take him out. What??? At this hour? Oh well I was up anyway.

I wanted to leave early this morning I still had 5 hours of driving to go, but I took it easy and didn’t head out until 9am. The plan was to go to Walmart and get a fee things I forgot then head to REI for some shopping. I decided to skip the shopping. Berkley was getting restless. He wanted out of this van. I’m not sure he likes it very much. There are so many things that rattle in here and it scares him.

The weather here is georgous, and the scenic drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful. I bet I drove though 10 tunnels along the way.

I wanted to take my time and pull over at some of the lookouts, but I was racing to a campground on the slim chance that I could get a walkin site. On the drive up to the Pisgah National Forest I called the campground where I have reservations for the next two nights to see if there was anything available for tonight. There was one walk in site, but it was gone by the time I got there. My next plan was a dispersed camping area about a half hour away down a dirt road. I was so stress trying to find it, because I no longer had cell service to google the address. Plus I was drving so I couldn’t look at a map. Luckly I looked at it pretty good at the location at home and had an idea where it was. I found the dirt road and there was a sign a the begining of the road stating that the areas that I could camp in are marked. Yea! I found it! I knew there was a horse camp 3 miles down the road then the sites I was looking for would be after that. This was a pretty rough single lane dirt road with a lot of traffic. I was shocked at the amount of traffic that I was running into. After going another 2 miles and only seeing 2 campsite that were already taken, I stopped and asked an approaching car if there were any open campsites down the road. They confirmed that they were full and there were also some illigal camping as well. Shit!

One lane gravel road.

I decided to turn around and go back to the horse camp and stay there. It looked like there were some open sites when I went by. So I mange to turn my van around on a single lane dirt road without going off the side of the mountain. As I enter the horse camp I notice a sign that said the area is for resrvations only and there was info posted at the vault toliet area. There wasn’t much info at the toliet except that is was $10 a night. I wished there was a drop box I could just put the $10 into and be done with it or reserve a site online but I don’t have service. There were numerous sites open so I decide to stay. It was already 4 pm so I was hoping no one would be driving in with a horse trailer this late. I’m not that lucky. A truck and trailer pull in at 5:30pm into the site next to me. I hope I am not in their site. Another camper truck pulls in at 6pm, but I get the feeling they are doing the same thing I am.It’s not my first night of illigal camping. But this one definitly come with a price or I should say SMELL and it’s not a fresh forest smell!

Hopefully I sleep well tonight. I picked up a 3″ foam mattress at Walmart today and I is currently 65 degrees. No AC needed.

WOW. JUST WOW!

Saturday August 31, 2109

As hurricane Dorian (catgory 4) barrels toward Florida. I prepare for vacation. I have the holiday week off. I chose not to worry about something that I can do nothing about. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Jim, who usually works all holiday weekends decides to stay home to help our parents in the miniscule chance that they MIGHT need help with anything during the storm.

The bad weather has caused all of Jim’s charters to be rescheduled. He has the holiday weekend off, he chooses to stay home to help friends and family. I get it, he has a huge need to help others, but he never has a holiday weekend off. It’s a huge blow to my heart.