Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Great Wide Open

This picture makes me want to go exploring. And hang streamers outdoors.
In December of 2007, I was a college graduate, working full-time and living in an apartment surrounded by trees at the base of Signal Mountain. My sweet boyfriend (now husband) lived a few minutes down the road and was quite the adventurer. Chattanooga was the place. We ran trails, we rode bikes, we hiked, we creeked, he climbed (I watched, tried it out, sometimes even made it to the top). We explored.

Back to December 2007. Eric and his friends were planning a backpacking trip to North Carolina. Word reached me that one guy's girlfriend, a friend of mine, would be going along. I was giddy! Adventure, exploration, showing my boyfriend that I am super cool and tough - sign me up!

I mentioned the idea to Eric. He looked at me with knowing eyes and said, "I don't think you'll like it". I thought I would love it. And the debate continued even as we loaded backpacks into the truck. Hours later, my toes were falling off. That one guy's girlfriend, a friend of mine? Peacefully asleep next to me. Uh oh.

Bright and early the next morning, our journey began at the base of the Nantahala River and traveled 17 miles up and down (mostly up) the North Carolina mountains. 17 miles. That one guy's girlfriend, a friend of mine, had no problem keeping up with the pack. Me? I fell way behind.

Eric stayed back with me. I cried, a lot. He encouraged me and lightened the mood. We ate freeze-dried pasta, beans and cheesecake out of a plastic pouch and it was wonderful. I rested, a lot. The sun made it's way from behind us to in front of us and disappeared. My headlight went dim and Eric traded with me. We sang and laughed and talked about goals. I ached, a lot.

It was an ungodly hour when we reached our destination. The next morning, Eric and I skipped out on the final leg of the trip and hiked 6 miles to the road. We waited all day for our friends to pick us up. It was the second best day I'd had in a while. The best day? 17 miles up and down (mostly up) the North Carolina mountains with my sweet boyfriend (now husband).

Gosh, I want to go exploring soon. How about you?


  1. What a great story! I'd love to be adventurous like that but I do much better just camping and sitting around a fire :)
    I just got a little homesick being from Tennessee and all...also have family in NC!

  2. My almost husband and I are going hiking tomorrow at Starved Rock in the middle of Illinois. Canyons and waterfalls and trails! I'm so excited!!!!


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