Usually when out hiking, Kelly and I simply eat bars, gels, and sometimes fruit or trail mix.
However, in a change of routine, today I decided to pack a backcountry stove and #mountainhouse meal. Not sure why, but for some reason I thought a hot lunch might be a welcome treat – which it was.
A few hours into the hike, we enjoyed a warm lunch and hot tea in the shadow of a backcountry church (denominationn unknown).
Here in western North Carolina fall colors are in full swing, daytime temperatures are lovely, and the hiking has been wonderful during our first visit to Smokey Mountain National Park.
The elevation here in south-central Kentucky is just over 1,300ft. While this altitude is nothing to outright dismiss, it is hardly on par with abundance of 5,000+ heights common to the western portions of the country I am more accustomed to.
In the absence of elevation to ascend, a lot of hiking seems to instead descend into valleys and gorges.
And so, we venture into the belly of the beast.
The thick, lush tree canopy high above ensures the area is wet, green, and beautiful. The air is cool, but not cold. Countless varieties of wild mushrooms grow uninhibited. There is a surreal, almost magical feeling out here.
The trails are slick and technical; the descents sketchy.
Damn, it is good to be out of the city and in the woods rolling on two wheels.
People often assume Kelly and I must find it lonely living on the road, but the reality is that we regularly socialize with a diverse group of people.
The past six weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. We re-entered the States in Montana over Labor Day weekend and now sit in south-central Kentucky.
During this stretch Kelly and I visited with 74 people, four dogs, and two puppies (yes, we made a list and counted). It was great connecting with family and friends, all of whom graciously found time in their busy schedules for us – many on multiple occasions.
Of course my favorite visits were with my immediate family … the rag-tag group pictured above. By not living in Minneapolis, Kelly and I are the ones keeping this group two down more often than not, but it was nice to have the band back together for a few weeks.
With the whirlwind tour completed, Kelly and I are now decompressing deep in the woods of southern Kentucky and eastern Tennessee before resurfacing three weeks from now in Asheville for more socializing.
Photo credit @lauracarrollphoto
Function Over Fashion.
As long as I can remember, I’ve held these words true.
Consequently, I’ve never had the nicest clothes, fanciest cars, or grandest house. But, my life is nearly always practical and efficient.
This week my simple rule has resulted in perhaps our worst camping spot ever. We’re paying $30 per night to be sandwiched between a constant flow of semi trucks depositing convention center goods on one side, and on the other – freight & commuter trains shake the ground as they rumble along their way.
All of this mind you, beneath a never-ending roar of commercial aircraft descending upon Midway Airport.
However, what this shitty spot does offer is super convenient access to downtown Chicago.
This time next week I’ll again be deep in the woods, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. By then, surely I’ll be anxious for my rendezvous with peace and tranquility.
But first, I’m very much looking forward to catching-up with the city That was home for half of my life.
Only a mother would tolerate her son and his wife completely blocking vehicle access to the garage for a few weeks. My mom is cool like that.
It’s been a great extended visit to Minneapolis, but now it’s time to be moving on.
As a full-time RVer I’ve seen my share of state park campground showers.
Sadly, most are old, dirty, and in desperate need of repair.
South Dakota’s #bigsiouxrecreationarea is a nice exception to the trend. While it won’t displace Utah’s Kodachrome State Park from its solid hold atop my #bestcampgroundshower ranking, it’s nice to see Big Sioux campground bring its A-game.