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Archive for the tag “white water rafting”

Not all fun and games….

We learned in our Happiness class that one of the traps of social media is that you only see the best parts of people’s lives and not the tragedies and turmoil that make up our daily lives but don’t show up in FB or WP posts.

So before I let you in on my next post on our annual trip to the mountains to escape the heat and humidity on the coast, let me tell you, “it ain’t all fun and games.”

Trigger alert: pain and suffering…

Last week included getting a speeding ticket on our trip to the cabin, getting a flat tire, stop and go highway traffic jams, losing power in the cabin and no firewood in a cabin advertised with ‘unlimited firewood’.

But we did make it to our cabin rental in the Smokey Mountains of NC……

It was exciting settling in to our retreat.

The first day we thought we would rent a pontoon boat and sight see on a large resivor in TN. We brought both the dogs. We were gonna do a little fishing.

We were really looking forward to the fun!

Settle down everyone!

Settle down!

(it was a long drive)

So with things not getting too lively I thought I might liven up the day….

and toss Dylan overboard…

It was an overcast day in the Smokey Mountains.

We learned the smokey mountains get there name from the moisture rising right out of the ground and water.

… Chumley was excited when we did some fishing.

The next day we hit a mountain river for some slightly more excitement…

…for some white water rafting

It was alright

Then the kids got to go to the (tower of terror) zip line obstacle course…

that took about 5 years off my life the last time I tried it.

So I did some mountain biking instead…

.…not to be confused with trail riding

It was kinda intense at the time but this ol man, relying on his bike skills from his youth, made it to the top.

Our next day was an old favorite from our last trip, mountain trail riding on horseback.

It was a lot to enjoy…

..when our horse wasn’t brushing us against trees or trying to knock us off in the trees.

Then it was back to our cabin and the neighborhood ‘Riverwalk’ park that the girls enjoyed last time;

complete with their own zip-line…

..and for some more foolishness by the stream.

We also did the mandatory campfires with whatever wood we could find.

Along with the mandatory Blair Witch type ‘ghost stories‘.

It was kinda creepy.

For instance some ‘thing’ took this video.

It wasn’t me!

The night ended up producing the Ghost of a lost nittany mountaineer!!

‘Big John!’

Like I said,


And what trip to the mountains would be complete without doing some hiking trails

in search of waterfalls before heading home

Little did I know it was a set up for a new background in a Tik-Tok video

So our ‘cool’ trip to the mountains was a lot of fun.


Did I mention speeding tickets, no power, flat tires and traffic jams?

It wasn’t all fun and games!

(But still alotta fun)


That’s about it for now knuckleheads.

I will try to do a better job next time.

Until then, we are going back to school around here, virtually.

So say a prayer for all of us.

I hope your week was a fun-filled one too!

Where the clouds grow

So how is your summer?


Cookouts? Pools and beaches?

Well we wanted to get away from all the heat somewhat and do a duplicate trip to the mountains, like we did last summer, to escape the heat and humidity on the coast.

This year we found a wonderful cabin tucked up in the heart and isolation of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Burnsville, NC.

Blue Ridge Mountains.

Yep, way up there!

Yes we found a wonderful cabin that was loaded with nearby mountain perks.

Welcome to Trillium

This was no hot, stinky Yert, like we learned our lesson from last year!

This house was very nice and comfortable PLUS located on the side of a mountain, only a short walk from their Riverwalk.

Riverwalk was a nice stream-side pavilion with extras to make a mountain stay fun! In the picture you can make out a make-shift zip line chair for the kids, inner tubes to go ‘tubing’ down the local stream, hammocks, grills, and even a nice fire pit area.

That’s one skinny bear

That’s right…the owner let us bring our greyhound up to the mountain too….

to the Blue Ridge Mountains where Clouds and God’s magnificence seemed to grow right in front of you every morning!

But do you think we stayed at Riverwalk and this nice cabin (more on that later) for 3 days?


We had things to do!

The first thing we did was ride back ‘down’ the mountains to go white water rafting on the Nantahala River, like we did last year.

Driving ‘down’ to the Nantahalla River

It was an amazing  2 hour car journey through the mountains taking in more beautiful scenes and clouds literally at eye level…

Clouds hiding in the mountains

We ended up at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) for a 2 hour trip on the mild class 1, 2,and 3 rapids. As you can imagine, no cameras or cells here.

The girls thought themselves (miniature) rock stars for navigating the rapids so well!

But also at the NOC was zip lining…

….and “zip line obstacle course”.

Which was a loose way of stating a paid for 30 various-ways-of-torture-and-fear-as-you-as-you-fall-to-your-death play trap.

The kids loved it!!!

Apparently, anyone with good shoulders, and under the age of 50, really enjoyed dangling 40 feet up by a thin rope, as you struggle to put a foot on something sturdy below you, before you plummet horribly to your death, leaving nothing but your guts and stream of horrid loud screams all the way down behind you.


…Like I did when I put my first foot out on the nothing below…

Can you make that out?

She is standing on a rope with the only thing to hang on to are other vertical ropes, spread just past a normal person’s out stretched arms.

Who thinks these things up?

The wooden cylinders hanging from the blue rope above that torture device is what I used to announce to everyone in the park with in the sound of my scream that Andy was attempting this now.

Stepping from one unstable tube to the next. Lets just pretend that is me up there. I was screaming like a baby…

Those tubes are just suspended by a single rope, nothing sturdy mind you, and just far enough apart  for me not to be able to reach them with my trembling outstretched knobby legs.

I eventually made it to the end of the first course, collected myself, tried to regain my cool, searched to make sure all my limbs were still in their sockets and crawled to the exit door……where 15 giggling junior high girls were skipping their way up to their version of ‘fun’.


Class 5 rapids are like a slow jog on the terror meter compared to this place!

Did I tell you I almost fell to my death?

5 times?!!

Each of our girls went through the Obstacle Course twice  😦

They seemed quite proud of themselves

“Great day Mom! Hey, did you see Daddy’s face when he stepped out on that obstacle course? That was priceless!”

Day two was less of a car ride, as we went 30 minutes up the mountain to a small town called Spruce Pine to the Springmaid Mountain Resort for some trail riding on horseback and other mountain activities.

Horse riding among the clouds

Now, this was my first time on the back of a horse, while our girls have ridden them a few times, albeit briefly at the zoo.

They seemed to take right to it!

Skye’s horse ‘Chucky’ liked to eat!

While Dylan’s horse was more of a Maverick

Riding Hidalgo. Actually her name was Buttercup.

The idea was to do some trail riding though the mountain. ‘We’ just had to guide the horses on the narrow and muddy mountain trails…

trying to take a picture on horseback

As well as across and through some creeks and unspoiled natural mountain lands


We all had the time of our lives.

And my Tennessee Walker had me feeling like General Custer, Eastwood, and Geronimo all rolled into one.

This was a great recommendation!

(although I still smell like horses)

With a few more hours to kill on the side of the mountain we opted for some tube riding down the local North Toe River there at the resort.

Again, cameras and phones were not an option here but if they were….


….. we all would be having the laugh of a lifetime as one or more of us tried to sit down into an inner tube in a fairly rapid current. I’ll let your imaginations do the rest.

It was Vaudeville meets Davey Crockett.

We had to hike up a mountain trail, with inner tubes in hand, to make it to the launch point. And then the river tubing trip took about a third of the time it took to hike there. But we did have so much fun we decided to hike the trail twice just to have some more fun….and laughs and hilarity(!)

Then it was lunch in downtown Spruce Pines at a Caribbean Restaurant called the Tropical Grill (you can’t take the beach out of the bum) and then back to the cabin we went.

At the end of the three days we asked our girls what was their favorite part of the trip.

For the parents it was a unanimous Horse Trail Riding. But not for the girls. They both enjoyed staying at our fancy  Cabin, Trillium the best.


The girls would have been happy enough not ever leaving the cabin and the nearby Riverwalk.

After all, it did have a nice view on the side of the mountain…

It had a little bit of a view

…from the hot tub

Not bad, eh?

The girls were in it every day.

But in this cabin in the mountains, it was not ‘roughing it’.

Inside Trillium

The cabin had all the conveniences of home…

A nice, modern fully stocked kitchen and stairs leading up to the loft

And a nice loft upstairs for the girls to sleep…

view from the loft

This is my version of camping, ahhh, ‘camping’ at its best!

It was a great hideaway, getaway on the side of a mountain in the summer..

The amenities included the Riverwalk with tubing, zip lining, campfires, fishing,..

deer (and bears) in the field…

Early morning with a deer looking for breakfast

and more.


it is located in the mountains where clouds begin to grow…

If you live in the southeast and this sounds like a getaway for you click here for more info on Trillium. Just tell the owner Andy sent you….you will not regret it!

Their motto is “Its a Reason for Every Season”.

And fall, winter, and spring just fell on our bucket list here at Trillium.

Quick Summer Getaway

We just got back from a quick summer getaway, trying to beat the heat on the coast by heading up to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Well…it was hot up there too.

So while I download a ton of pictures I thought I would just post some quickie videos my phone, er, I mean camera made for me over night. (I may have to buy some more data space from WP to upload here!)

The first day we headed up to Asheville, NC and to the Biltmore House, the Vanderbilt Mansion, completed and moved into on Christmas Eve, 1895.With 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms and over 4 acres of floor space it is said to be the largest family home in the US. The closest thing to a castle in the United States

This was something to see!

Certainly more than I anticipated.

To give you some teasers for the Biltmore post, the house boasted two original Renoir’s and three fireplaces in its  ‘banquet room’, a Bachelor’s wing complete with hidden doors, and a 14k gold paneled Master Bedroom complete with a tub carved out of a block of marble.

But as impressive as the house was so were the grounds and the garden of the 8,000 acre estate, including one of my favorites, the Palm Room or a greenhouse dedicated to exotic palm trees. 

Walking the trails looked like they were conceived to duplicate a fairy tale. Yes the architects not only added 4 gardens and a greenhouse but rebuilt the mountain side adding over 3 million new, exotic and imported trees.

But all that later, I have to get started on my unpacking. Here is a summary video (that my camera made) of the pics I took that day.

The end of the day at the Biltmore house led us to trails down to his ‘Bass Pond’, where our girls just fell in love with nature, streams, waterfalls, bare feet in cold streams and so forth. Living on the coast, this was new to them.

So the next day we drove down to Bryson City, NC and rode the old Smokey Mountain Railroad up to the Nantahala River Gorge and rafted back down. The Nantahala was cold, crystal clear and relaxing.

We spent the night in a glorified tent I now understand they have a term for, Glamping.

The next day we introduced our girls to zip lining on a kids zip line course. Then lunch and another trip down the Nantahala before heading home.

Do you think our girls enjoyed zip lining?

They were the only ones signed up for the first time slot that morning and so the guides just let them have run of the whole course until the next time slot, some 2 hours later. It was like a race to see how many times they could, ah….Zip!

Unlimited Zip Lining..oh yea!

That’s all for now. If I haven’t bored you with yet more shameless family videos check back in a few days as I collect my thoughts on how to organize 80 pics into a short story or two.

If my summary video piqued your curiosity on the Biltmore House, here is a video with a little more information on the grand house. The hundreds of story lines behind this house are as colossal as the house itself. Each room was built with a story or theme in mind and the whole property is its own work of art and years ahead of its time in the 1890’s.

A small example is pictured in the video below. It is his library, with over 10,000 books, many original versions, an Italian painting on the ceiling, a 16th century tapestry over the fireplace and the largest of 65 fireplaces on the property.

Have a great weekend knuckleheads!

I’ll try to do better next time..

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