Follow Your Dreams

Monday November 2, 2020

I am back home now after 4.5 months of travel. It was the trip of a life time. Something I will never forget just like my Appalachain Trail thru hike. I logged over 10,000 miles in the van and have no idea how many miles I hiked. I explored about a dozen national parks, several national monuments and a few state parks. I am so blessed to have been able to do and see so much, but it was also a choice that I made. I chose to make it happen. So get out there people and follow your dreams you won’t reget it!

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday October 25, 2020I picked up my friend, Pat from the Asheville airport on Friday and we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway(BRP) to Crabtree Falls. The falls were beautiful with lots of water flow and the fall color. The hike to the falls was a very slow trudge behind a long line of slow people. It was really pretty annoying and not enjoyable at all. I felt like I was at Disney World waiting in line for a ride. Luckly it was a loop trail and the trail past the falls was very steep so most of the people were going back the way they came. I made Pat take the steep route so we could escape the crowds. The trip on the way back was much more enjoyable although the steep section was unbelivebly steep. We were grabbing anything we could get our hands on to pull ourselves up. We looked like Spiderman scaling a wall. We both made it up safely and Burkley seemed to have no trouble at all.

Crabtree Falls

I was hoping to grab a first come first serve campsite at Crabtree Meadows Campground but it was closed. So I treated Pat to a parking lot site at Cracker Barrel in Asheville and her first shower in a tiny wetbath.

Blue Ridge Parkway

On Saturday we continued our way down the BRP to Mt. Pisgah campground and were able to get a site for the next couple of nights. We started a 7+ mile hike to the top of Mt Pisgah. I told Pat we could turn around anytime she wanted to. But she decided she wanted to do the whole thing. Little did we know that it would involve climbing about a mile of stone steps to the top of the mountain. Again the trail was crowded and there were dozens of people at the top, but the view was filled with beautiful fall color.As I am laying in bed last night I hear something out side. I think to myself that is sounds like a bear getting into someone’s food. When I take Berkley out the next morning the guy in the camp across from me tells me that a bear dragged his cooler off into the woods. He had some food in it and left it outside all night. Everyone of the sites here has a bear box to store your food in it. People are so careless. Pat talked to some other campers and they told her that the bear had also gotten food from other campsites on previous nights. Most likely the bear will have to be killed now because of careless people.This is all a new experience for Pat. She has never done any hiking before so she is pretty sore today (Sunday). It looks like it is going to be rainy for much of the day so she is going to get a rest day today before I drag her back out on the trails tomorrow.

Monday October 26, 2020

Skinny Dip Falls

It rained almost all day yesterday. I got out for a few short walks with Berkley, but that was it. There was no hiking. It was still raining this morning at 4 am when he woke me up to take him outside. It was a quick pit stop then we both climbed back in bed until it was light out.

Today we got to see a couple of very nice waterfalls. I have seen them both before and would view them regularly if I could. The first was a short hike to Skinny Dip Falls. It is located at MM417 on the BRP. You also have a view of Looking Glass Rock from the same parking area.We also saw Looking Glass Falls. A waterfall located about 10 miles off the BRP on 276. It is a roadside waterfall, with a massive amount of water flow.

Looking Glass Falls

Looking Glass Rock

Back in the east

Tuesday October 13, 2020

I had a couple more days of rain and now I am starting to dry out. I am in North Carolina now. The color is just starting to show and leaves are falling from the trees. I will be meeting up with my Mom tomorrow and Jim will be there the day after. I can’t wait to see everyone.

I tried to hike to a waterfall this morning, but didn’t make it. There was a creek crossing that looked more like a river after all this rain. So I turned around. It was good just to be on a non-dusty trail. Althought there were plenty of roots and rocks…something I haven’t seen in a while.

I am back in the Eastern time zone with the humidity reaching 80%. It is terrible for my hair. I am having bad hair day after bad hair day. Out west I would just wake up run my fingers through it and be done.

Thursday October 22, 2020

Mom’s rental.

I have spent a few wonderful days with Jim and more than a week with Mom. It was a major treat to eat Jim’s cooking again rather than my own. I made some quesadillas for Mom and I after Jim left. I accidentally burnt the last couple. Mom being a mom offered to eat the one that was burnt the worst. She did make a comment about needing a skillsaw to cut through it and used double the amount of salsa that she normally would but she made it through it. Mom’s are the best.

Dry Falls

We spent our time hiking, talking and a whole lot of relaxing. The place she rented this year has a fabulous mountain view.

Tomorrow I am headed up to Asheville to pick up a friend that lives in my home town. She will travel with me on the return trip home.

Rufus Morgan Falls

The sweetest!

Collision

Saturday October 10, 2020

Hurricaine Delta and I have collided. It has been a nonstop rainy day. It makes it very challanging for me to get Berkley out. He has a distaste for rain and will not go out in it. I found a couple of shopping centers that had some cover and made due with that. On a positive note hopefully it washed some of the bugs off the van.

I have finished driving through Oklahoma, there is nothing to tell. Arkansas was short and sweet. Definitly more to see. There were tall trees along the highway and fields of beautiful yellow crops. I don’t know what there were. Oh, Tennessee you are so beautiful! I see mountains again. Some fall color is starting to appear. I long to hike your trails, but the rain…I will have to come back another year.

central time zone

Wednesday October 7, 2020

It has started to get fairly cold out west so I have started my return journey back east. I will stop in North Carolina and spend a week with my Mom before heading home. She has rented a place up there for a few months.

I have exited Colorado, traveled though Texas and have just entered Oklahoma. It is flat, boring and buggie. I don’t know what kind of bugs they are but the front of the van is covered. It is like living in Florida during lovebug season.

I am also in the central time zone and my hair is starting to friz again. I had some great hair days out west, but no longer.

I passed by acers and acers of cows packed in fenced corrals. I couldn’t believe the number of cows in each pen. It was a very sad site. This is something all you big time meat eaters need to see. There was no grass, just dirt that I am sure was just packed with feces. The smell was horrid! I’m sure they were all to be butchered soon. I sure am glad I don’t have love for beef. I have watch documentaries on how horrible animals are treated but never I have I seen it in person.

On a positive note…I managed not to burn my popcorn tonight. I think I have figured how to pop it in the van.

Black Canyon of Gunnison NP

Friday October 2, 2020


Deep, steep and narrow that is the Black Canyon. Created by the Gunnison river over the past two million years. With depths over 2,700 feet deep and total length of 48 miles. It is quite the site to see, only I couldn’t get close to the edge and look over.It was a pleasure exploring the park. The crowds were minimal with plenty of parking. The day was over cast with a cool breeze and the folage was showing its fall colors.
I entered the park at the south rim and was able to get Berkley on a short 2 mile trail. Although he only hiked half of it and I carried him all the way back.

Saw this payphone at a gas station in Gunnison, Colorado. It had a card reader.

Cascade Falls

Thursday October 1, 2020

We continue our northern journey up the Million Dollar Highway over Red Mountain Pass. It is even more spectacular than the previous two pass. Although the prettier views also come with more hairpin switchbacks and steep dropoffs, some without guardrails. I was white knuckeling it, and driving as slow as a grandma.

Once safely reaching the town of Ouray, Colorado I stopped to enjoy a short waterfall hike to Cascade Falls before continuing on.

Cascade Falls

Town of Ouray

Heading down the road.

Million Dollar Highway

Wednesday September 30, 2020

I left my wonderful camping spot to travel up the Million Dollar Highway between Durango and Ouray, Colorado. It is part of the 236-mile-long San Juan Skyway that squiggles through the rugged San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The scenery is stunning. I climb the first pass over Coal Bank summit at 10600 feet, with the RPM’s reaching 4500. It is a slow chug. I pull over multiple times to let vehicles pass by. Once passing over the summit the view is eye popping and I get goosebumps. I pull over to take pictures, becaue some how Mom found out I was taking pictures while driving and it was causing her to have heart palputaions.

I continue on white knuckled through hairpin turns and exposed sections without guardrails to Molas Pass at over 10900 feet. Again I stop for more pictures.

I descend into the town of Sliverton and find a place to camp just a couple of miles outside of town near Mineral Creek.

Our camping spot.

Our view of the area.

Cold Weather

Tuesday September 29, 2020It was a chilly freezing 33.7 degrees in the van this morning. I stayed tucked in until 7:30 and Berkley had the same idea. He wasn’t climbing out, not until I made the first move. I hopped up and through clothes over the thermals that I went to bed in. I find that is the easiest way to get ready quickly and not freeze to much. I exited the van and put my temperature gauge on the outside of the van. I was curious to see what the outside temperatue was. I left it there while we went for our morning walk.We are surrounded by mountains so it took a short while for the sun to reach us, but when it did things started to warm up quickly. I took a few pictures while we were out walking. The fall colors are starting and it is so very rare for me to see such beauty. I wanted to capture it.When we got back from our walk the temperature gauge was reading a warmer 35 degrees. We went in and turned the heat on and I proceded to make myself a cup hot chocolate. The sunlight was beeming in the front windshield. I sat up front in the warm sun drinking my hot chocolate and enjoying the beauty surrounding me. Soon I was turning the heat off and stripping down to my thermals. Things were heating up quickly. It is forcasted to get up to 76 today. By 10:30 I am in a tshirt. By 11:15 I was in shorts. Yesterday I stripped down to a tshirt and underwear and just sat in the entryway enjoy the warm sun on my skin. I suspect I may be doing that again today.

Natural Bridges NM

Friday September 25, 2020

This national monument was a delight. There were far less people here than at some of the other parks I have been to. There was parking at every parking area and few people on the trails.

Sipapu Bridge. It is hard to see in this picture with all the background rock.

The first hike to Sipapu Bridge was a bit to technical for me. I attempted it and made it down the first two sets of metal stairs. But the ladder had me turning around. I don’t like heights or ladders. The ladder was made from old tree limbs and I’m sure it was probably solid, but I decided best to avoid it. I am hiking alone and I have Berkley waiting in the van. So if something happens to me Berkley could be in big trouble. Plus there were a total of three ladders to descend.

Natural Bridges NP has a 9 mile one way loop. Offering guests numerous lookouts and hiking trails.

Next was Horse Collar Ruin, inhabited by ancestors of the Puebloan people. It was a view from far away. You may have to zoom into the photos to see it better.

Kachina Bridge was another challanging hike with many steps down into the canyon far below. It did have one small ladder, that I managed well. Once down and standing under the bridge it is mindblowing to see just how big it is.

Only one small ladder on this hike, but the stairs were plentiful.

Owachomo Bridge was the smallest of the three bridges and easiest to hike to, but still very large.

This little angel is fast asleep. It was a busy day for him.💜