Posted by: SoccerGirl | September 11, 2010

Always an adventure…

It was with great anticipation that we headed up to the mountains over Labor Day weekend.  Not only did I have 3 days off (and my parents 4 & 5 days) but the weather was predicted to be beautiful.  The highs in the 70s, and lows dipping down in to the upper 40s, this is the type of weather I like!  My sister-in-law, Debi and dog Jake came along as well.  Mom and Dad were able to head up on Thursday and we joined them Friday evening.  In reading through the local paper there wasn’t a whole lot going on over the weekend, so we didn’t really have plans to do anything in particular.  Of course, we were required to do a minimal amount of work on the property while we were there, but I’ll talk about that in a little bit.

This was the 4th year in a row that we have been up in the mountains for Labor Day weekend, but our very first in our own house!  Saturday we spent our time doing some of our “usual” activities when we’re up there: dad was up early and outside working, Debi, mom, and I slept in, we headed into town and visited the Farmer’s Market, met up with some friends and stopped by Smoky Mountain Barbecue for lunch.

Sunrise captured thanks to dad getting up early

We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in town because we had to be back at the house to meet with our landscape architect to check out some work that was recently done.  We had been having some drainage problems along the hill behind the house, causing red clay to accumulate near the back door and a small ditch to form across the driveway.  So we had the hill re-graded and a drainage ditch cut out to help.  Our work for the weekend involved spreading grass seed, fertilizer, and straw over this newly exposed red clay in the hopes that it will be green and grassy before long.

Dad watering our newly seeded ditch

While mom and dad were meeting with the landscape architect; Debi, Jake and I used the time to hang out and enjoy the sunny afternoon.

Jake, Debi and I enjoying the sunny afternoon

Before long the sun was beginning to set and we turned our sights to dinner, and more importantly a fire outside and s’mores!  It was definitely a good night for a fire, as the temperature quickly dropped down in to the 50s and we all donned our jeans and sweatshirts.  The sky was also completely clear and the stars were amazing, you could even see the Milky Way!

Keeping warm by the fire

The real adventure took place on Sunday.  The morning started off normally enough, mom made breakfast, we took a walk to collect some wildflowers to use for seeds to plant in the meadow, and we did a little bit of work.  We had decided on Saturday to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go canoeing/kayaking on the New River, so we made reservations at Zaloo’s Canoes, which just happens to be a few minutes from the house.  Debi, Jake and I got a canoe, and mom & dad were supposed to each get a kayak.  The trip left around 1:00 from Zaloo’s and ended at the New River State Park, about a 5 mile trek down the river.  When we arrived at Zaloo’s it was really crowded, which is to be expected for a holiday weekend.  They had penty of canoes, but we were told to wait until their morning trip returned with some more kayaks.  So we waited, but it seemed like it was taking a long time, so mom & dad told us to go ahead in the canoe and they would probably catch up to us.  We didn’t want to leave them, but they assured us it was ok, so we took off in the canoe.  Jake was a little scared to get in to the canoe at first, but soon settled in and alternated between sitting and laying down in the middle of the canoe.

Jake and Debi in the canoe

We didn’t make it far before we decided to pull off to the side and wait for mom and dad, thinking it couldn’t be too long before they would get their kayaks.  As we waited we watched canoes pass by and several kayaks, but no mom & dad.  There were even a few times we thought we saw them, but as the people got closer we realized it wasn’t them.  A minor complication of this waiting is that neither one of us had a watch, so we had no idea of the time or how long we had been waiting.  I did remember that my camera had a clock, so I ended up using that to check the time.  After about an hour of waiting and a lot of debating about paddling back up stream and what may have happened to them we decided to continue on our journey and started paddling down the river (although technically it was up, because the New River flows to the North).

The calm waters of the New River

We had a really great time, seeing the landscape and navigating around the rocks and very small rapids.  One thing about the New River that makes it challenging is that it’s quite shallow and occasionally the canoe would get stuck and one (or a few times, both) of us would have to get out and move us back in to deeper water.  We saw quite a few fish, as the water is perfectly clear, as well as some aquatic plants, snails and mussels.  We only came across a few other people on the river, a few tubers as well as some other canoes from Zaloo’s.  One couple we passed asked if we thought we’d make it to the park by 5:00 (the time of the final pickup) and we were sure we’d have no problem.

We paddled along, eventually passing an old grist mill that signaled we were close to the park, and we looked forward to finally figuring out what happened to mom & dad, since although I looked behind us several times, they never appeared on the river.  Soon we saw the sign for the park and the canoe take out.  As we looked up to the shoreline, who should we see standing there but mom & dad!  They were accompanied by two guys from Zaloo’s and were very happy to see us.  It turned out that it was 5:30, we were half an hour late, and apparently my camera clock was an hour behind.  Mom and dad were prepared to call the sheriff to come look for us if we hadn’t shown up by 6:00.  You may be wondering why they never made it on to the river, well they waited for kayaks until about 2:30 and only one had shown back up, so they got a refund, went back home, and then drove to the park to meet up with us.  They arrived about 3:30, as the trip is supposed to take 2-3 hours.  As groups came up and we didn’t arrive, they began asking people if they had seen us.  After many false reports of our whereabouts, and our continued absence, they grew worried, and were of course very happy to see us finally arrive.  We gathered up our stuff and headed home to relax, clean up and have some dinner.

Monday brought our next adventure.  We decided to take a hike in the morning, before mom, Debi, Jake and I headed home (dad was staying behind to take care of some stuff on Tuesday).  A few weeks ago mom and dad had taken a hike up a road near the house, so we decided to do that again and see if we could figure out where our house was located from that road.  It was a pretty easy hike, a little up hill, but not too steep.  The most interesting part of the hike was when we came up to a cow pasture.  We could see the cows off a little bit in the distance, but then all the sudden we heard this noise and about 5-6 cows were right at the fence and just a few feet from us.  Jake was very interested in the cows, and in fact on our way back he ran up a hill to get a closer look at them.  We also passed by a Christmas tree farm and had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains as we figured out where our house was located.  Soon though, we had to turn around and make our way back home to pack up and leave.

Mom and Dad hiking down the road

Hello, cow!

Another fun mountain weekend had come to an end.  The time always seems to go by faster than we’d all like.  It was so nice to have cool weather again, the leaves on the trees were already starting to change and I look forward to seeing all their colors in the weeks to come.


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