Sunday, November 27, 2011

Appalachian Trail

We did it!  We made it to both ends of the Appalachian Trail in the same year.  Ok, so we didn't hike everything in between but we still accomplished our goal of hiking to the northern and southern terminus of the AT.  And let me tell you...neither are just a walk in the park! 
Mount Katahdin - August 31, 2011 - Northern Terminus of the AT
Friday, November 25, 2011 - We started at the Visitor Center at Amicalola Falls State Park
That's a lot of miles to Maine!
Little did we know that during the first mile we would quickly climb a steep path and 600 stairs to the top of Amicalola Falls (At 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest cascade in the Southeast).

I think they are trying to scare everyone away with all of these warning signs.  It didn't work and it wasn't THAT bad!
Hike Inn is an Inn 5 miles in for those who like to hike but not sleep on the ground.  That's not for us!

 Ahhh...we made it to the top!

What a view and what a picture perfect day we had! 

We set up our stuff at our home for the evening, Springer Mountain Shelter.

Then we hiked back to the top of the mountain to enjoy a gorgeous sunset. 

At our shelter we shared company with several great people.  There was Troy and his son, Ethan, out on a 4 night boys trip and then there were 4 guys finishing the trail from Maine to Georgia in a little over 5 months.  The only visitors at the shelter we could have done without were the mice running across our sleeping pads all night long!  Pesky little buggers.  They even got to snack on Tom's bagel.
Southern Bound successful thru-hikers - Bullwinkle, Jonesey, DA and Turtle
What a great trip!

Til next time...happy trails!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our first big holiday away from home...Thanksgiving, 2011.  As we were approaching this day we were a little sad thinking about not being in PA in our house filled with family and friends, eating dinner and sharing a good time (as was our tradition since Tom and I met in 2004).  We tossed around ideas of what to do...take a hike, go out to eat, hang out at the RV and eat in, etc.  Then Tom came up with the fabulous idea of volunteering at a local soup kitchen...and so we did!

Feed The 5000 by Our Daily Bread in Seneca, SC.  I'm not sure how many years they have been doing this but they had quite a well organized operation.  We showed up around 8am to help prepare the meals and we could see they were well on their way and probably spent most of the night cooking some of the items and general preparation.  We were able to help with miscellaneous duties as well as the big job of picking off the meat from all of the turkeys.  After the food was prepared and packaged there was the job of delivering these 5000 meals to the locals in need.  Tom and I were fortunate enough to deliver 84 meals to a nearby apartment complex which housed mainly senior citizens.  Each person was so grateful for this tiny offering we appeared with.  It was truly a great feeling to us and also a great reminder of how thankful we are for what we have.  We have already talked about making this our holiday tradition and plan to find somewhere in FL to help out on Christmas day. 

Cooking and prep area

meals being loaded in our Jeep for the delivery

Since the last blog we have been on several gorgeous hikes in North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina, where we are currently staying.  While this area is definitely remote, it does not lack in beauty.  We are surrounded by woods, streams, lakes and rolling farmlands.

These 4 pictures are from one of our favorite hikes (which we also did in 2007) - Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.  While it is a great hike with lots of variety, it is also not for the weak at heart with many steep climbs and drop offs as well as ladders going straight up the sides of the mountain.  That's why we love it so much!  

Split Creek Farm - SC - a goat farm for fresh cheese, milk, soap, etc.  I'm not a huge goat cheese fan but this stuff was excellent!  What a neat operation they have with over 700 goats in different areas of the farm and even a pot belly pig to help clean up the area.  They also had a local artist with her items on display in a little cottage. 

Issaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel (an unfinished railroad tunnel) - SC

We even checked out the '55 Exchange at Clemson University for some fresh ice cream!  (Established in 2005 by a generous gift from Clemson’s Class of 1955, the ’55 Exchange is a student run enterprise that was created to preserve one of our core agricultural traditions, the Clemson Ice Cream Experience)

Becky and Dee enjoying the great ice cream! Dee is a fellow RV'er and good friend we met at our current campground in SC.
 Tallulah Gorge State Park - GA

Chattooga River (we later found out this is where the move Deliverance was filmed - yikes!) - Foothills Trail and Big Bend Trail - SC

We will be in SC until Dec. 4th then head on our way south to FL!  Til next time...happy trails!  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We are alive and on the road again!

Hello!  Don't worry, we didn't remove you from our posting list...we just haven't blogged in over a month.  I know - hand slaps to us! 

If you've been following this blog, the last you know is we purchased a different RV in NH.  We did leave there and spent a few weeks in NJ close to the beach.  But first, let's talk about the trip from NH to NJ...our maiden voyage.  We left the dealership at 4pm thinking we'd drive a few hours and then pull over at a rest area for the night.  Let's just say things don't always go as planned and we (and I mean WE - both Tom and I drove - I'm crazy!) ended up driving in the rain, rush hour around Hartford, CT and many more miles until we ended up approx. 1.5 hours from our campground at 11:30pm for a few hours sleep along the Garden State Parkway in a rest area.  Our maiden voyage was a little stressful but successful! 

At the beach we had some time to get settled into our new home and realize how much we love it and don't miss the Class C.  We also relaxed, bird watched at Cape May, lounged on the beach, did a little bike riding and a little fishing!  What a great time.  We even had our first overnight guests...thanks, Brenda & Joe!
Migrating Monarch's in Cape May
Surf fishing with Tom's cousin Chuck and his wife, Peg

A great day of fishing!

From NJ we thought we'd head back home for a few weeks to visit with family and friends and to get the new RV checked out.  Little did we know that would turn into an extended stay when there were some serious problems found with the RV.  We ended up being roommates with Brenda & Joe for several weeks - thanks, again!  We love you!  It was great to spend time at home again and to spend time with our family and friends.  We're sorry we couldn't see everyone but we can only eat out so many times in a few weeks!  :-)  We even got to enjoy the snow storm at the end of October in Mount Gretna and quickly remembered how much we don't miss living under the trees during such awful storms!  
Tom's grandson, Drew (left), and his friend having fun at their soccer game (isn't that adorable!)

now that's a serious soccer face

Now we are in Lenoir, NC next to the Pisgah National Forest and beautiful mountains everywhere.  The weather at our campground is warm and sunny but a little different on top of the mountains.  We hiked to the top of Mount Mitchell today - the highest peak in NC and the highest peak east of the Mississippi (6,684').  It was very windy and cold today with the temps around 30 at the top (not including wind chill - brrrrr!) but very beautiful!  Since we're close to the highest peak in VA (Mt. Rogers) we hope to climb that tomorrow and then play around on Grandfather Mountain on Saturday before heading to SC on Sunday.  We'd love to stay here longer but the campground closes for the season on Sunday. 

Mount Mitchell Summit - 6,684ft.

a beautiful view from the summit

Til next time (I promise - it won't be as long!)...happy trails!