Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekend Escape

Grandma and Grandpa helped with the twins over the weekend so we could take Connor on his fall campout. Grammy and Pappy helped with the kids this week so Josh and I could take a much needed escape from our day-to-day life.

We headed to our home away from home ...

 Our rental cabin in the mountains.


The view from the top. We tried a few new trails this time around. The first one up was Charlie's Bunion, a really long trail off the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap.


This view, the complete lack of other people, made it all worth it. Beautiful fall colors, a pretty steady uphill climb, and this was the reward at the end. You literally walked along ridges and stood at the top of the mountains with panoramic views of the mountains all around. It was breathtaking.

This was the view from a secondary trail, called simply The Jumpoff. Just another mile or so off the main trail, and spectacular views here as well. Fall colors still brilliant and beautiful.


Just a snapshot from one of the many overlooks. This trip was far and away the best fall colors we've ever seen on our fall trip. Lots of bright reds, oranges and yellows with some greens still mixed in for contrast.

The view from the parking lot at Clingman's Dome, the spot of our second new trail of the week. The bad news about this one, it was downhill most of the way there (and therefore uphill most of the way back)!


The trails group had put a lot of work into making this one easier to hike in and out. Lots of foot bridges and rock steps that Mother Nature did not provide originally.

Andrew's Bald. Who knew there were wide open spaces at the tops of some of the mountains. I've never seen a meadow quite like this one in the mountains. It was warm, sunny and a peaceful place to spend a few hours resting in the soft grass. Lots of people brought picnic lunches and were there for the day.

Love driving these roads in the mountains. It always makes me think "two roads diverged in a  yellow wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by ..."

And, of course, the beautiful view from the back deck of the cabin in the hot tub. It was a nice long week of hiking, relaxing, good eating, and a little shopping (mostly for the kids, of course)!

The rest of the photos are here

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall Campout

One of the best things about Boy Scouts is the annual Fall Campout, usually on or around Halloween weekend. Last year, Josh took Connor. This year, Grandma and Grandpa were nice enough to come up and watch the little guys so that I could go with them.

First of all, it was cold. As in, really, really cold. As in fog lifting off the lake at 7 a.m. cold.

As in so cold we all wished we thought to pack another layer or two.

The Boys Scouts camp area was beyond beautiful though, particularly this time of year.

We got to try out our brand new tent (a Big Agnus, for those who might be interested). We're pretty impressed so far. Kept us warm and dry despite the cold, and lots of room inside for our air mattresses and sleeping bags, as well as our gear.

Climbing wall. He mastered it.


Shooting sports. He did well with those.
Family shot after lunch at the main building. 
More shooting sports.


Riding in the canoe on the lake. Thank goodness the sun came out for us, especially since some less fortunate people tipped their boat over on the way out (brrr)!




And carving a pumpkin.

It was a long weekend, filled with lots of walking, lots of activities and lots of adventures. My favorites were riding in the canoe, camping out with my boys, and sitting around the campfire at night. Connor voted the shooting sports and the trick-or-treat trail as his favorites. Josh just wonders how he got roped into this whole outdoor camping thing in the first place!

The rest of the photos from our trip are here