Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mountain Meanderings

Late summer flowers in the formal garden at Biltmore Estate
Asheville, North Carolina - September 15, 2012

It has been an excellent week of varied activities for me here in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, although, in some respects, I've been challenged, forced to punt and can't exactly say that I met all the challenges in fine fashion.  This week in North Carolina was planned quickly and my wonderful cabin reserved just a couple of weeks ago.  Fairly easy to do during the "off season" which September is considered to be.   Us "insiders" know that there is NO off season in these wonderful mountains!  But I digress!   When the reservation was made, the weather forecast called for perfectly sunny skies and almost zero chance of rain for the entire week.   Normally, that close in, the forecast is somewhat accurate, so I made hiking plans accordingly.  As we all know, there is really nothing predictable about weather and the forecast for Monday and Tuesday did a total about face going from zero chances of rain to 100% chance of 2-4 INCHES of rain!  And it was on Monday afternoon when things started becoming a bit challenging.   But before then............................

Bill arrived on Friday afternoon and we had a wonderful weekend doing the things we love most about being in western North Carolina.  Most of Saturday, we spent at Biltmore Estate and Justus Orchard.  I've written about Biltmore and the fact that we are longtime season passholders many times before so will not repeat, but Justus Orchard was a new discovery last fall.  After finding a new variety of apple there (Candy Crisp) that I cannot find anywhere else, rest assured, this will be an annual fall pilgrimage.   Love the fact that Candy Crisp is a early September apple, so I get to start enjoying them just about the time I start missing the fresh berries of the summer!

Always on the lookout for a new surprise, we "discovered" the Rose Walk at Lake Junaluska.  We've walked this delightful 2.6 mile paved pathway a few times, but had never seen the roses or even noticed the rose walk.  This is a huge claim to make, but last Saturday, the roses blooming along this path put the much better known rose garden at Biltmore Estate to shame.  Take a look...........


If you get tired of looking at roses, you can turn around and this is what you will see............

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina - September 15, 2012

Being the avid walkers that we are, we make it a practice to learn where the "locals" walk.   I'll have to say that this path rivals any I've seen with respect to scenery and beauty.  I hope the folks around Waynesville, NC never take this for granted!

We are so fortunate that Bill has been able to arrange his teaching schedule (actually, there was no arranging to it - he inherited it) so that he finishes teaching on Friday at 2:00 and doesn't have a Monday class until 1:00.  Between commitments that come with being head of a thriving choral department, his other "job" with Knoxville Choral Society and our church, we have to FIGHT to find a free weekend each month (our goal) to head out of town.  Thankfully, we are able to extend it to a three-night weekend which makes it just perfect.  He left at 6:30 Monday morning, was sitting in his office by 8:45 and the greatest gift of all on this particular day, is that he made it BEFORE the torrential rain set in for the next 24 hours.  

I, on the other hand, was left in Maggie Valley trying to figure out what to do with four days of completely altered plans.  A highly anticipated hike on Tuesday was not to be and another scheduled for Thursday would need to be changed at best because of trail conditions after 24-36 hours of rain. And so it was, that over the long hours and unrelenting rainfall of Monday/Tuesday,  I confirmed two very important realities about both myself AND my relationship with food.  

1)  Very real panic inducing claustrophobia sometimes has nothing to do with four walls or being enclosed in tight physical spaces.   

2)  Boredom is not something often used to describe the way I feel, so when I realize I am bored, I'd best act quickly OR I WILL EAT!

I have a whole lot more to say about both of these, but for now, just know that some major introspection and dare we say, insight has been born from my days in these mountains.

Thankfully, Wednesday dawned bright, sunny and much cooler.  I was itching to get back on a trail and that is exactly what I did.  Hiking solo, I once again had my sights set on Gooseberry Knob, a place Becca and I visited at the END of our hike last week and one of my favorite places on this side of the park.  It was the perfect day and a spectacular ending to my week in Maggie Valley.  Tomorrow, I will make my way back across the mountain to the Tennessee side and if the weather prognosticators know what they're talking about, we've got an amazing span of autumn like days coming up.  It's predicted to be a spectacular season.

 Cataloochee Divide Trail - GSMNP
September 19, 2012

Is boredom something with which you ever struggle?   And remember, boredom can come in many forms and doesn't necessarily mean having nothing to do!


  1. I'd say boredom is my #1 trigger to eat... it ranks above stress even. When I find myself bored, I'm like you , and I better find something to do quick! Or if what I'm working on workwise feels boring, I better do something else for a while. You are right, boredom does not equal having nothing to do.

    I saw your text, and I'm glad you were able to go back and enjoy Gooseberry Knob!! I really believe with a good book, I could stay up there all day.

    I want to know more about the 1&2 above...looking forward to what you learned about yourself this week.

  2. I don't feel like I ever get bored. I get so overwhelmed with all that I have to do, I stop doing anything. THAT is what leads to overeating. I know I have to keep busy doing even the most menial task to keep myself occupied. I think that is probably the same thing.

  3. I love late season roses! Those blooms are always such a treat to see amidst the fall blooming flowers. I have some blooming late right now and they make me happy just to look at them.

    I would love to see the Biltmore some time.

    I get bored and I eat. Sometimes I get bored while working if I have the same doctor the whole day to transcribe. Monotony...

  4. OMG YES!!!! Boredom is not my friend. I might have to agree with the comment above that it could be my number 1 trigger. Sigh. LOVVVVVEEEED the positives that I read in your last post. I see a woman who is just glowing with health and attitude:)

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with your observations. I live in a 2000-sq foot house, but when we have snow days or other weather that prevents going anywhere, I feel trapped and a little panicky. It's not the space; it's the absence of freedom.

    I've also made the connection that boredom and not having anything to do are entirely separate things. For me, it boils down to having a purpose in each moment, and I'm having *some* success with reminding myself that my purpose is not to be fixing a snack. Unless, of course, I'm truly hungry. :) And then I think about things I'm passionate about and find something related to one of those things to do.

  6. Oooo! I'm going to use some of those rose pictures as references, since I'm painting roses today! :)

  7. I like to get out and explore nature and I drag the family along with me! You are exactly right - boredom comes in many forms.

  8. Lately I have not experienced boredom. But I know what you mean about it. Even though I had plenty of 'fun' things or chores to do, I would not want to do any of them and would be bored. and yes, would eat.

    Those roses are beautiful. It is so fun to discover new treasures in the world.

  9. It's wonderful that you hubbies schedule allows for such a wonderful weekend getaway.

    Yes I do sometimes experience boredom and not it's not because there isn't enough around here to do to keep me busy. Sometimes I need a change of scenery or some variety in my daily routine.

    Food is always a tempting comfort solution and something I have to be aware of.

    Great photos, love those roses.

  10. Oh, my, your photos are wonderful!
    Yes, I do get bored on occasion, especially during our very long winters. A visit with a friend or a change of pace seems to make quite a difference. Enjoy your weekend in your lovely part of the country.

  11. Hi Sharon, I've been catching up on your blog posts... Wow--your trip to Maggie sounded wonderful. Must have been alot of bad weather in that area.. Until yesterday, we hadn't had much rain at all here on the plateau.. BUT--it's rained alot the past couple of days. It's been cool enough for a fire in the fireplace each night. LOVE IT.

    Glad you made it back to Biltmore. That place is awesome. Haven't been to the orchard you mentioned. Will have to check it out sometime.

    We love Maggie --and Cataloochie Valley. Did you see the elk?

    Our vacation was awesome --but it's nice to be home. My son's wedding is this weekend --so the fun continues. NO REST FOR THE WEARY.... ha