At the close of this week after much excitement (an anticpated interview for me in WV) D and I decided to take a little break. Our break of choice this weekend was a backpacking trip into Panthertown Valley in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We not only needed a break from the stress and uncertainty that has become our life right now, but we also needed a break from the heat that has seemed to permeate every nook and cranny of this upstate corner of SC.
With hopes of cool breezes, clear mountain streams, and a simpler life for a day, D convinced me to put on a backpack and carry my house with me for a night. (I must really love this man since I am not sure I would do this for just anyone!)
At the end of our short hike, only 1.5 miles, we found ourselves amidst a land of countless waterfalls, pristine sandy bottom creeks, and tangled mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets. This small parcel of land (6300 acres) was designated as an addition to the Nantahala National Forest after several attempts were made to convert it into an upscale resort area, Christmas tree farm, and Duke Power's land for high voltage transmission lines. Regardless of the multiple intended uses, it's primary use today is as a recreation area and it's beauty is amazing! We found ourselves breathing a little deeper and walking a little slower. The dogs felt as if we had taken them to their own personal heaven.
After our wonderful day we called it quits at our home away from home and settled in to a dinner of udon soup and terriyaki noodles. The dogs found a place to settle and finally made peace with the wilderness.
At the end of our trip we left feeling more refreshed and grateful for our time away from the distractions. We found that even a 2 hour car ride and 1.5 mile hike can make us feel like we are miles away!
In the words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas "..... to be whole and harmonious, man must also know the music of the beaches and the woods. He must find the thing of which he is only an infinitesimal part and nurture it and love it, if he is to live."