Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Good-bye beach. Hello mountains!

We have left the beach for the summer and have planted ourselves in the mountains for a month.  We arrived yesterday afternoon in Asheville, NC.  The last 24 hours have been full and fun.  We settled in quickly to our new home.  The backyard has lush, thick green grass with a creek at the far edge and apple trees.  Our landlord live across the street and has an amazing yard/meadow.  Upon arriving we checked in by walking around the meadow getting to know our host.  While walking we enjoyed playing on a hammock swing, gazing at the creek, admiring the soon to be fruitful blueberry bushes, and picking strawberries.  Our host has been very hospitable and welcoming of us and our kids.  She had a lot of insightful information about the area as well as about the wildlife (including bears and wild turkeys).  We have plans to use the fire pit area in her yard to build a campfire and roast marshmallows this week.

Liam had a hard time not squashing all of the plants while picking.    I had a hard time picking fast enough to feed him so he wouldn't trample too many!

With nice weather today we decided to hit the trails.  We hiked through the Craggy Gardens up to the Craggy Pinnacle where we had lunch.  The rhododendrons were not in bloom yet so we have plans of hiking this area again in a couple of weeks.  When the rhododendrons are in full bloom, we are told you are walking through a tunnel of flowers for portions of the hike.  However, even without the flowers blooming the views were stunning.  Everyone loved the adventure!  Amelie and Liam (with the encouragement of their dad) loved blazing new trails!

Our lunch spot.

After hiking through the Craggy Gardens we headed to a trail that led to the site of Rattlesnack Lodge, the former summer home of Asheville physician and outdoor activist Dr. Chase P. Ambler. The Amblers built their summer retreat in 1903 and occupied it until 1920. The Lodge is long gone, victim of a fire caused by lightning in the late 1920s.  The well-designed trail went through a multitude of switchbacks, following an old wagon route to the private home.  At the end of the hike, we were able to explore the old toolshed, the spring house, and the water supply pond.   It was all very interesting!  Liam had fallen asleep in the car on the way to the trail so Amelie and Bobby got a jump start to exploring and Liam and I caught up with them later.   We loved looking at the different trees, lichen, bugs, worms, and more.  So many cool things to learn about in nature!!

The once spring fed swimming pool.

We were all VERY hungry after a day of hiking.  To satisfy our appetites, we ate lots of delicious pizza  at Asheville's Pizza and Brewery down the street from our house.  Once we got home, we ate ice-cream on our back porch and then took turns taking warm baths.  We are looking forward to more adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

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