Blue Ridge Parkway

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Tomorrow we leave for Virginia for a week to visit some of Jordan’s family.  I am finally starting to find my way around Asheville and Hendersonville, its a lot of getting lost, missing a road sign and having to call someone with GPS.   Today I finally made my way around with out any of these backups its a bit slower going and can certainly get frustrating at times yet it becomes rather rewarding when you can start learning the basics getting where you need to be.  If I had more time I would certainly take the time to meander my way through more back roads.

 I have learned that most roads do lead home some way or another.  I do get lost but I have never gotten so lost to the point of not finding my way back.

Over the weekend Jordan I decided to go see what all the fuss was about with The Blue Ridge Parkway.  The highway travels along The Great Smoky Mountains between a few states and in and out of state forests, parks and such.

On Saturday we headed towards Brevard, NC the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the spot for all outdoor activity.   To get to the Parkway you drive into Pisgah National Forest driving past many waterfalls.  We stopped quickly at Looking Glass Falls off the side of the road with plenty of parking and a small sidewalk and and stairs that lead down to the bottom of the falls if you so desire.  We then made our way a mile up the road to Moore Cove Falls for a short, inter-mediate hike to Moore Cove Falls.

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Spring time is the best time for the falls though we rather enjoyed the hike and being in nature.

Saturday Night we parked closer to town, went grocery shopping at a local organic store, checked hikes on the parkway and bedded down early.

Sunday morning we got up went for coffee at a local coffee shop that was a dual bike shop. Brevard is the place for mountain biking and they seem to really like their Specialized bikes.

We drove back into Pisgah National Forest to pickup the Parkway. We drove about 40 mins or so to The Mount Pisgah Trail. 14963603_1158808650877002_98309005_o

The trail itself is 2.5 miles round steep and a scramble up rocks, roots and leaves.  To be honest I am surprised and impressed with the trails out here. They are well kept and a good width for people to pass and walk beside.

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After finally making our way up and being disappointed there were no Tibetan Monks at the top to greet and bless us we were greeted with views over the whole valley on either side of us and more rolling mountain views.

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though we didn’t find monks at the top we did meet some amazingly silly women at the top who did greet us and cheer us for finishing.  We were all able to take each others pictures and have some great conversations.  They had an enjoyable time teasing Jordan and I.

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We ended up getting a group shot, sadly we don’t have it.

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On the way way down Jordan and I tried coming up with a good trail nickname for them. Something fondly for us to remember.  I thought they were a hoot and lovingly refer to them as The Cackling Sisters.  Everyone needs a good trail name.

I know for myself that the whole point of traveling is to get me out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and starting new conversations.  About whatever, new ways of living, sustainable living, learning and discovering how others live.  I want to experience nature and to also meet people.   I have this theory that we’re all not that different from one another.  I want to find out if this theory is true.

I just have faith in humanity, more than what I even believe I have.  There is always so much nay sayers and so much put up against one another in media.  I believe that is false, I believe there really is more good in the world, in humanity.  

I am on this journey to find out.

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with love,

jess

 

 

on the road….

Jordan and I are currently in North Carolina on a two month long road trip.  We left Utah in mid October in Jordan’s Roadtrek called Cornellia after getting me all moved in and moved out of the room i had been renting on and off for the past three years.  Our plans for coming back east was to come out to help my best friend who just had her second baby two months ago to visit and give some relief while also visiting friends and family along the way.

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We stopped in Iowa for a day to visit Jordan’s friends and to have a rest.  In Iowa we stayed in Ankeny and were able to go to a state park for hiking and mountain biking.  While Jordan was working I had the opportunity to go and explore Pella,Iowa.  It is a historic dutch town with plenty of windmills, bakeries and brick streets for your enjoyment.

Then we went on to Ohio to visit my family and stayed there for half a week.  Its always nice to get family time.  Things always seem to change yet stay the same. Odd how that happens…. Its been awhile since I have had quality time with my family and something I have been needing.   We parked for a night in Columbus at my cousin and her families house and I was able to spend a day with her and then all of us go out for dinner.

Jordan and I then headed up to my home town of Ashland to park at my aunt and uncles house.   We spent the majority of the time there so I could visit with my brothers, antagonize my uncle and get to meet the newest addition to the family. We also got the best fall cookies at Hawkin’s Market. They are a fall staple in our family.

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Driving….

We are trying to iron out the kinks when it comes to drive, work, sightseeing and relax time.  We tend to have to go a bit slower due to Jordan working through out the week and then having only so much time on the weekends yet also managing time that Jordan gets to get out and explore himself.  Its a lot of conversing with one another and checking up on how we are each doing.

Are we staying somewhere too long,

Are we driving too much,

Are we getting to explore together,

Are we exercising enough….

It’s a work in progress and maintaince to be sure that both of us our getting out of this what we need.   Its learning even more about communication and also giving one another the space one needs to figure it out as well.

 

North Carolina has been a lot of fun and we have been here for a few weeks now.  I have plenty I plan on writing about each with their own posts.  My goddaughter is now two and has gotten so big and I have had plenty baby time with the newest addition.  Kelsey has taken me out to explore and we have gotten our much needed girl time we each have been lacking.

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until next time…..

with love,

jess

Thoughts on Mesa Verde and Travel

Last week was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, a lot has happened with family and I needed to get away, breath, refocus…center again.  Jordan asked what I wanted, what I was needing. I told him I wanted to run away… So we did, well at least for the weekend. 

 I bought a National Parks book this past spring. I like to flip through it. Get ideas, plan out my big Mobile adventure with it.  Jordan and I flipped through it together after deciding not to take a trip to meet with his friends in South Dakota. We really wanted to but his work schedule mandated we stay close.  So we flipped through the pages of my book and decided on Mesa Verde National Park. 

Mesa Verde has been on my radar for some time.  My bestfriend loves it down there, its an archeologist dream come true.  Studing geography and having a deep appreciation for native american culture myself I wanted to explore as much as I could.  As a kid flipping through my history books I would fixate on the images. Imaging myself there exploring, discovering something new.  I became the explorer, historian, archeologists, geologist, I became the people of those times.

Going to college and exploring my interest in geography, nature pops out to me.  How land is formed, where can we find water, what do the rocks look like, the colors of the dirt.  What flora do we find, what animals, insects are living, how do they adapt to the climate.  The desert is so appealing to me, what we think should be a livable climate-thrives and those species who do find ways to adapt, culltivate.  

We are told in history, science, social classes the the early humans live along-near rivers but so much of our history is right along desert habitats.  Places we think have no water but has rivers, lakes, pockets of water hidden or in plain sight.  Mesa Verde is unique in the fact that water is gathered and collected from rain fall and seeps down into the cliffs and there each drop is collected along the back walls.  

Its so fascinating to me, so much to learn and understand. The Anasazi people had learned to live and flourish for over 700 hundred years at Mesa Verde. Hunting and gathering, migrating and then eventually farming. Making dwellings underground, building villages and then building and living in the cliffs. The building work is very well done. Lasting this long.
I believe we have a duty to protect the ancestrial lands. The more I travel and learn the more I realize that we are caretakers.  We have an obligations that I feel stronger and stronger about as i get older, as I explore and learn. 

We are lucky to have places like Mesa Versa and all of the other parks. At there are caretakers and money put in to restore, educate and provide for our benifit and pleasure to seek out. 

The parks are a sanctuary from our busy, hectic and modern day lives. 

I am thankful for all the traveling I have been able to do this last month.  Each weekend has been somewhere new to explore.  An adventure that I have always dreamed of, its why so many years ago I moved out here and why I stay mainly in the west. 

I am grateful for Jordan and our new partnership, companionship and love. That he see’s the world a bit like I do – exploring, learning, understanding and protecting our lands.  The onset of our relationship has been about travel and it continues to be that as we plan. Its our priority, our passion and dream for ourselves.

With love, 

jess

We flipped a coin

Sunday morning over Labor Day Weekend Jordan and I couldn’t decide on what to do- take a quick last minute trip to southern Utah or do spiral jetty and Golden Spike.  So we flipped a coin and let it decode for us. 

Tails was spiral and golden spike. Many of my friends have been and I hadn’t had the opportunity yet to go. I was excited for either side of the coin.  We got our day snacks and water filled and headed out for a light day of adventure.   

It was a good drive north on I-15 to The Golden Spike Monument.  For those who don’t know.  The railway was connected here in Utah between the east and west coast.  For the celebration a golden spike was layed by the then railway tycoon.  There is a small visitor center that plays a movie about the construction of the railway and then outside they have a two locomotive replicas.  FYI if you do this I would add t Union Station Muesuem in Ogden, Utah. Gives you more information about the rail system and the history of the railway. 

After taking pictures with the cars we headed down the road farther to The Great Salt Lake where The Spiral Jetty was constructed. 
 

Back in the 70s a man hired a contractor to build a rock formation now known as the Spiral Jetty out in the Great Salt Lake.  The water once upon a time used to come up and cover the jetty at certain times of the year.  These days the lake water has receded so far out that who knows if they will ever reunite again. 

If you don’t know the formation of the jetty and you head out there and see this rock formation you might wonder if this was/ is a arcological site. Who formed this, why was this formed, what does it represent? 

I wonder what people will think of it centuries down the road. When we are all lost, the rements of our lives are all but covered and gone, what will they think?  Will the story still survive or will it be lost and future generations have to come up with their own clues, ideas.  

We as humans have a tendancy to create objects for either spiritual, religious or practical reasons.  The reasons tend to get lost but the structure survives and future humans then go and try to understand what it was for. Perhaps so we can understand our own nature a bit more. 
Whatever the reason it is still fun to explore and to wonder. 
What you will need. 

  1. A light sweater, jacket for season
  2. Sandals or tennis shoes
  3. Water
  4. Hat for protection 
  5. Snacks 

Have fun adventuring! 

With love, 

Jess

Crater’s of the Moon adventure

Jordan and I were driving back from Bringham City Peach Days when he looked over at me smiled and asked what we should do for Sunday.  I was hesitant to mention that I would really love to drive up to Idaho to Craters of the Moon.  “Its only a two hour drive from here” I said when I finally came out with it.   He started thinking, hmm “should we go tonight?” 
So I hurried up packed myself and Charles, and Jordan got the van situated for all of us for the last minute trip.  We made dinner that I could hardly eat due to the excitement of the trip and then we set out on the road.  We drove Saturday evening chasing the night sky, leaving behind the city and inching ourselves ever closer to the excitement of the short adventure we were on. 

The drive from Ogden, Utah to the National Monuememt was really 3 and a half hours. Still nothing compared to getting out and exploring the great outdoors.  We drove up to the park closed for the night, we drove around close to the entrance parking for the night at the entrance gate.  The campsite was closed for renovastions. 

We got out, walked around to stretch out and gaze up at the stars that we forget about when we are closed off due to all of the light pollution from the city.  The moonlight made a dramatic affect against the backdrop of the landscape we could barely sctech out along with the solitude, quietness of utter space. 

Around 2 am I had gotten up to let Charles out. The moon had set and all around all you could see were stars. The milky way popped with light and color against the night sky and I was reminded of the aw-ha moment I had sitting in geography class and a night I had down in Moad a few years ago.  

The only thing holding us all is gravity. We are spinning in this controlled choas. We are orbiting around the sun along with the planets in our solar system, our sun is spinning letting out heat and light. Our solar system then orbits our galaxy along with the other systems and our galaxy is orbiting along space.  And there lies the great mystery and yet it all explains how our earth functions. It all plays a part in our tides, our weather, climates our landscapes and how we as humans, animals live here on our planet.  We are living, operating our day to day lives. 

We are on this great adventure together, not really knowing where we are going, why we are cosmically here. We do our best to understand, to discover and to explore.  
So I try to do my part by exploring to hopefully try to understand, to see the beauty…to fall in love with nature. 

Saturday Morning we woke to a new perspective of our surrounding landscape.  Crater’s of the Moon gives you two eerily sesations . 1 that perhaps you are on some desolitue planet left abandoned. 2 that an apocalyptic event has occurred and you are all alone. 
In one day of exploring we got to understand the landscape better, learn and to hike. We explored lava rock fields, fossilized trees, cinder cones and caves.   The last lava flow was around 2000 years ago, the Shoshone tribe used the area for gathering, migrating and shelter, and the area was a cutoff for the Oregon Trail. 

We got to see everything except for the wilderness trail.  We neither had the time nor proper prep for the trail. 

You can explore everything withing in a day, everything is close and trails are easily accesable. Most trails are paved and are no longer than a mile to hike. There are some steep areas climbing the cinder cones but the hike is well worth it for the views. 

What you will need for day: 

  1. Permit for caves ( received at visitor center) 
  2. Hiking/walking shoes 
  3. Water
  4. Hat
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Headlamp/flashlight
  7. Snacks 

With love, 

Jess

Mount Timpanoges. 

The  Saturday over Labor Day Weekend I was able to go and explore parts of Mount Timpanoges National Monument.  My date and I drove an hour south from Ogden excited for a day of hiking and adventure.  I had never been to mount timp and it has been on my bucket list for years to go and hike the cave.

When we got there we didn’t realize that we needed pre-passes for the guided tour.  There are days when you can go early enough with out having reservations but holiday weekends are not those times. Its okay, we looked at the map and made a quick decision to go hike a 2.5 mi trail.

We drove 30 or so minutes  along the mountain road. Watching out the window of all the splendar of the fall colors.  Reds, oranges, yellows popped out brightly at as. We had the windows down and for the first time it finally felt like fall. The air had a light cool crisp of new season change.  The meandering, tight road curving along the mountain slowed us down and take in all that nature has to offer us. We forget all too often to step outside and take a deep breath and slow it down.  We live in such a fast paced society now that we forget where we came from and where we will go back.

There is something beautiful and deep about listening to the wild call. 

We explored Stewart Falls Trail. Its a moderate 2.5 mile hike.  It is only one way so it comes out to be about 5 miles all together.  There are some steep passes but we saw families of all shapes and sizes hiking.  The trail is defined and very well maintained for use.  The hike does get a bit rugged towards the end with rocks and small boulders but it is easy enough to hike through.  I myself enjoyed the rocky part of the trail.
Arriving to the waterfall you first see the top half, it then falls into a small pool and then cascades down to the start of a river source.  You will hike down a little more to the bottom of the falls and there you are able to play in the creek, sit and relax, enjoy some snacks and enjoy nature around you.

While hiking and enjoying the views of the waterfall we saw plenty of empty plastic water bottles.  Please remember to be kind to the earth. Allow us all to explore and enjoy nature as is.  So remember to pack out what you pack in.  Also if you do see trash do pick it up and take out to a more reasonable disposable place.

With love,

Jess

 

 

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