Came to my rescue

I have such a caring man by my side. I love him to pieces.

Yesterday Jason had the day off from his now two jobs, so I took the day off as well. He planned a hiking trip with one of the girls he works with at the Marriott in town and her son, as well as his cousin and two boys.

We all eventually arrived at the Devils Bath Tub in Virginia, with the hope that the weather would stay nice enough for all of us to enjoy a day out in nature.

After waiting for some time in the parking area at the trailhead of the Devils Bath Tub for his cousin, Jason decided to put a note in the window telling them we already hit the path.

It was overcast and the winds were changing, which told us the rain was on its way. We have been out on a few hikes where it started to rain, but decided to push on, which worked in our favor because the storm always passed us by.

We were on our way, with Lucy of course.

The trail looked much different yesterday, the water level in the creeks was much higher and the rock beds, which were dry last time, had water running through them. With overcast skies, the look of the trail and vegetation was much different as well. The darker hue was breathtaking.

Eventually the rain drops began and after some discussion we all decided to hike on . . . Our tune eventually changed as the leaves could no longer hold onto the weight of the rain water and the drops started falling at faster rates. We found some coverage, well a little bit of coverage, and stopped to see what would happen. At this point the rest of our group joined us on our wet hiking adventure.

As we were all gathered in the same spot, an intense lightning bolt struck, which sounded like it was extremely close by. Jason called it, our hike was over. He wanted to make sure everybody was safe, and after reading about someone being killed on Fort Myers Beach, near where we used to live, the day before from being struck by lightning, we knew better than to take any chances.

By this point, I had picked Lucy up and wrapped her in my shirt, which was gaining dampness by the minute. Thank goodness I packed another long sleeve Under Armour shirt that I could wear. This poor puppy of ours gets cold really fast.

With the decision finalized, everybody turned around and began walking as fast as they could, while being careful not to stumble on tree roots or rocks along the path. We were all extremely soaked, but everyone seemed to be in good spirits.

It was crazy to see how fast the path filled with water and how the intensity of the creeks changed as it filled with rain water.

Although I was not scared, I was glad Jason called the hike and we all decided to walk back to the car. Since we were all soaked, it got cold, especially when walking through the creeks, which was also cold, as we followed the trail out.

Jason was always close by as we crossed the creeks, which he confessed later almost ended up putting him in the water. I love how he makes sure I am always okay. I’m still a little hesitant on crossing some of the creeks, which by this point I shouldn’t be. My courage constantly grows though, which is good.

Even the little boy who came out with his mom, was keeping an eye on me. It was absolutely adorable, 10 years old, and he was looking out for me. He was right in front of me, loving every minute of being out in nature and walking in the rain. I spotted him turning around to make sure I was still coming. What a nice young man.

It wasn’t until almost the very end of the trail that led us to the final creek to cross where I took a spill, a really hard spill. As we turned a corner I walked close to the edge of the trail because there was a large pool of water. As soon as my foot hit the edge it slid in the mud and I fell pretty hard on my hip. Mind you, I still had Lucy in my arms. I have no idea how I did it, but I kept Lucy in my arms as I hit the ground, cushioning her blow.

I’m so proud of Lucy, she was such a sport. She didn’t budge at all as she sought out comfort in my arms.

Jason was ahead of me a few steps and before I knew it he was by my side leaning down grabbing my hand to pull me up. It all happened so fast. I was really covered in mud.

As I stood up, I placed my forehead on his shoulder as he asked if I was okay. He said he heard the impact of me hitting the ground on my hip, as well as the squeal I let out. His caring tone almost brought me to tears, so I picked my head up looked him in his eyes before he took Lucy’s leash and we started walking again. I was proud that I restrained from crying, even though the tears started filling my eyes.

I was in a lot of pain, but we were almost to the finish line, if you will, and the rain was still pouring down, so I had no other choice but to keep moving.

We made it to the car and then back to our place, where his cousin and boys joined us for lunch.

Although we couldn’t finish our hike, and I took a nasty fall, and Jason lost his glasses, it turned out to be a fantastic day. The day was full of a lot of laughter and after our company left to head back to Kentucky, the good times continued with Jason.

Today, well, I’m a little sore, so I decided to stay at home and not go for a run or head to the gym. I’m kind of surprised I haven’t found any bruises yet, but a little bummed about how achy I am. I guess it all comes with the adventures of loving the outdoors.

Our favorite adventure: Devil’s Bath Tub

Yesterday my day did not start on the right foot. As soon as I woke up, it seemed like it was one thing after another going completely wrong. I’m not a fan of these types of days . . .

After I returned home from Jonesborough and made a couple phone calls to finish my last two articles for the Herald & Tribune, my day began looking up.

This of course happened because Jason had the day off and he was eager to get out in the woods and go hiking.

So after my work for the day was complete, which was much earlier than expected, we packed our hiking bag, put Lucy’s hiking collar on and headed to Virginia for an afternoon of fun.

I always enjoy driving through Virginia, it is such a beautiful state.

We eventually made our way to High Knob Road, which took us to the trailhead. Thank goodness the road wasn’t wet and muddy, or we might have had trouble getting all the way back to the starting point.

After we parked we climbed about a dozen or so stairs to get to the trail, which was an almost instant decline down the hill. At this point Jason said what I was thinking . . . this wasn’t going to be fun on our way out.

The trail led us to Devil Fork Creek, which we had to cross to continue on with our journey. There were rocks for the most part that guided our steps to the other side. On our way in, we held Lucy as we made our way across because the water became deeper at the other end.

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On our way back I left it up to Lucy to make it to the other side. After whimpering for a minute or two, and with us encouraging her, she finally rocked back and jumped as far as she could make it, which, yep, ended up leaving her splashing right in the water. Lucy kicked and swam to the next rock, jumping from dry spot to dry spot before making it to the other side. As soon as she made it on dry land she shook a few times before trotting along behind Jason.

Once we made it to the other side of the creek we followed the markings on the tree, which guided us through the incredible woods of green vegetation.

IMG_2050After hiking a little ways down the path, there was a sign that navigated us in the right direction.

IMG_2158We headed left towards the Devil’s Bath Tub.

Jason loved everything about this trail. He was definitely enjoying his day off. On more than one occasion he said how beautiful the trail was.

I LOVE that we can share adventures like this with one another. I can never express how incredible it is to make these new memories with this man I love so much.

The trail weaved in and around the creek, which led us up and down a breathtaking trail. Yes up and down, my legs are feeling the workout we did yesterday today. (Running two miles probably didn’t help the matter today.)

We really had to watch the markings on the trees and rocks to ensure we were going the right direction.

IMG_2062If you look closely there is a marking on the tree on the right side of the photograph. Jason and Lucy are hiking through the rocky path.

IMG_2065There is always something incredible to look at while we are hiking along, if it’s not a trunk of a tree, it’s the huge green leaves or flowers that are slowly dying, or the cascading water over or between rocks.

IMG_2066I have so many photographs like this one. I get excited every time I see little waterfalls like this because they all produce their own unique sound that is incredibly calming.

IMG_2068This is what our path turned into, all rocks. It was absolutely adorable following Lucy’s path as she maneuvered between the large and small rocks. I couldn’t help but smile as she jumped and jumped and jumped.

IMG_2069We found places along the way that we stopped and had a snack, took a drink and well just stopped a minute to take a breather.

It wouldn’t be a true adventure unless we went off the trail and found unique, stunning views to appreciate.

IMG_2081We stopped here and walked along the trees that fell, kind of “X” marks the spot.

IMG_2074Lucy had fun walking on the tree too. Where ever Jason goes she follows . . .

IMG_2073I know I’ve said this before, but Lucy is truly a great hiking buddy. She is so well-behaved while we are hiking the trails, especially when we let her off the leash and let her explore on her own. Lucy’s always close by, never ventures too far away and listens when we call for her.

We finally reached the watering hole, which was breathtaking, even with about a dozen people swimming and splashing in the crystal clear water.

IMG_2156Since there was a ton of people swimming (this picture of course was taken after they all left) we followed the trail to the right in search of the Devil’s Bath Tub.

IMG_2140I am still in awe, the sight was simply breathtaking. It was stunning to see what years and years of water running through rocks had done to the rock formation.

IMG_2120The water cascaded down the rocks which pooled into the “bath tub,” which Jason thinks is at least 35 feet deep.

IMG_2130I still cannot get over how clear the water was. It was absolutely beautiful, especially with the way the light was reflecting off of the water.

IMG_2088I am so glad we climbed down and walked along the bath tub and beyond.

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IMG_2105The water flowed from the bath tub and continued along . . .

IMG_2113The water continued on from here and eventually flowed into the water hole.

IMG_2115Lucy enjoying the view.

IMG_2125We of course found higher grounds to gain another perspective. It was beautiful from up here. We sat up here for quite a while in complete silence taking it all in.

IMG_2146After leaving the Devil’s Bath Tub we wen back to the water hole where everyone was swimming before. Words cannot describe the beauty we saw.

IMG_2150If the water wasn’t super cold, and I wore a bathing suit, I might have gone for a little dip.

IMG_2153Out of all the hikes we have done in the past 14-months since moving to NE Tennessee, this is by far my favorite. That’s saying a lot with all the waterfalls we have seen. Jason and I will definitely return to this location, hopefully with friends and family to show them this pure beauty.

There is nothing better than getting lost on a trail for a day of fun.

My Friday turned out to be a fabulous day . . . a wonderful day with Lucy, our little, almost 7-month-old puppy, and my best friend.

Every time we spend time outdoors I grow a new appreciation for where we live. I’m so glad we decided to move to this area, especially with all of the wonderful experiences we have gained.

Memories for a lifetime and experiences I will hold near and dear for all eternity.

 

The start of another adventure . . .

Jason and I are about to start another adventure . . .

When we moved to Kingsport, Tenn., we decided to sign a six month lease – a decision that has proven to be very beneficial. Although we like the complex we are living at, we seem to always leave Kingsport on our days off, exploring other areas, but the one we currently call home.

The great part about that is we are leaning towards an area we both think is beautiful, one in which waterfalls are much closer to visit.

So, today I turned in our notice to vacate at the end of October. I’m excited about this new adventure. We have already begun the process of looking for another place to live – this time a home we can rent out in the country somewhat, hopefully.

When we first started dating we rented a house from friends that was on some acreage, which we enjoyed. Although it’s convenient to live in an apartment complex, it’s also nice to live somewhere, somewhere you do not have a downstairs neighbor and upstairs neighbor and everywhere in-between.

The next few months will be fun as we find places we like and take tours of the homes to see if it is a good fit for us. The conversations have already begun of the possibilities that lie before us now that we are thinking of renting a home. I can start a garden and grow everything I need for a salad, or ingredients for a meal. We can possibly get a dog, since we will most likely have a decent yard – that in itself is pretty exciting.

IMG_0081The best part, get this, I can set up an actual office, instead of one in the corner of our bedroom now. That is exciting, very exciting . . .

Everywhere we go, we are looking at houses, not just to rent, but one day to buy. The great thing is we both seem to think the same houses are beautiful – a wraparound porch and a beautiful backdrop – mountains, streams, creeks – as our view into the backyard, or front yard for that matter.

Jason and I are pretty simple people, very simple.

Tennessee is a beautiful state, one in which Jason and I both agree feels more like home every day.

Dennis Cove Falls

Today’s hike was very peaceful with beautiful scenery and a little bit of adventure.

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We decided to go to Dennis Cove Falls in Tennessee to check out the waterfall.

In order to get there we had to cross three creeks … by cable. The first and second we ended up doing half by cable and the other through the water on or in-between rocks. The third cable was by far the easiest because of a log we could walk on while hanging onto the cable.
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There were many places to go off the main beaten path and more into the dense trees and vegetation that took us closer to the water.
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The waterfall was flowing pretty good today after the rainfall we have had.
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Jason of course found another spot where he could get a different perspective, very pretty.
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We sat for a while taking in the scenery, as well as the sounds and tranquility of it all before we moved on.
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We stopped on rocks in the middle of the creek.
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One of my favorite things to do is look up while we are out in the wilderness.
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Everything is so green, lush and stunning.
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Today’s hike was a lot of fun, we laughed a lot … and had our moments of silence as we both took everything in and cleared our heads.

Compared to some of the hikes we have been on, this part of the Cherokee National Forest was not too strenuous.

What a great two days of exploring …

Directions from Laurel Falls alternative hike:

  • Continue on Dennis Cove Road for 1-mile. Just before the single car bridge is a small parking lot. Directly across the road is the trailhead.

Directions from 1-26 to the trailhead of Laurel Falls:

  • Take exit 24 to Elizabethton on Scenic US 321                                8.4 miles
  • Turn Right at 19E Jct Staying on 321                                                 5.2 miles
  • In Hampton turn left on 321                                                                1.3 miles
  • Look to the right for the parking lot and trailhead area.

Alternate hike:

  • In Hampton turn left on 321                                                                0.8 miles
  • Take a right on to Dennis Cove Drive                                                3.3 miles
  • Take the windy road up the mountain to the Appalachian Trail Crossing at the Dennis Cove trailhead where you will find a parking lot on either side of the road.

Gentry Creek Falls

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Today’s hike was insane … a new adventure that left me feeling extremely confident by the time we left.

We parked just outside the trail, ate a sandwich and the spotted a ton of butterflies. They were everywhere.

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The trail was absolutely beautiful. There was a fast flowing creek along the path, one that we had to cross 26 times in and out of the National Cherokee Forest.

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I have to say it was quite hard the first time, but on our way out it was much easier because we saw the rocks that guided us across the creek.

Time and time again Jason has me look fear in the face and beat it. He held my hand across and showed me which rocks to stand on, all while encouraging me. It was incredible really to defeat that fear of walking through rushing water of that speed.

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With all the rain yesterday, the water was freezing and our feet were constantly cold throughout the walk. The perk of this of course was we were cool throughout our whole hike.

The hike of course was all worth it when we stumbled across this site …

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I love seeing waterfalls, no two are ever the same. The sound of course is the best part of it all.

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Today’s hike was a great adventure, one that pushed me past my own limits. I felt incredible as we made our way back out to the car.

These hikes are such a breath of fresh air, literally, because you are out in the wilderness taking everything in around you. 

Jason is an incredible hiking buddy … I love the support and the nonstop encouragement he gives me when I need it the most. Today again showed me why I love this man so much and how much he inspires me on a constant basis.

Another fabulous day, another perfect day with the man I love.