In October, the family and I went to Boone, North Carolina for a fun filled weekend in the mountains.
Boone is a good four or five hour drive from where we live. In true McHenry/Harkness style, we listened to music the entire drive and arrived late Friday evening.
Our host was Noah, a former student of Jon’s. He and his family let us stay at their cabin for the weekend. My favorite thing when traveling is to be there with a local. Their perspective is completely different and they know exactly where you should eat, the things you should see, and the cool facts you should know. Also, Noah happens to be a fellow film lover and we spent some good time watching horror films in anticipation of Halloween.
For our first day in the mountains, we definitely had to check out a staple Smoky Mountain experience. The Mast General Store. Its floors are properly uneven, with steep staircases and narrow aisles. They display their impressive candy selection in barrels, host antique displays, and even have banjo playing musicians on their rocking-chair strewn porches.
The next day we went on a hike up to Flat Top Fire Tower. It was at least two miles up hill to get there. I might have been severely unimpressed by the lack of fall colors in the mountains had it not been for our hiking locals, Noah and George, or our group’s insatiable desire to take pretty much every “shortcut” we could find. I’m here to tell you, not every shortcut was actually a shortcut. At one point we were climbing on rocks and crawling through tunnels of trees and bracken, laughing and jokingly asking if anyone had food or water, in case we got lost.
(No but seriously, we all had food and water.)
Flat Top Fire Tower
The winds of Hurricane Matthew were whipping through the mountains. We continued our wise life decisions and climbed the tower anyways. It was a little bit terrifying, and terrifyingly exhilarating. The views were incredible. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to the photos or video that I shot because I was clinging to the railing for dear life as my extremities slowly froze.
The way back down the mountain was much more enjoyable, with many more “shortcuts,” on which we got even more lost.
Thanks for humoring my need for photos, guys!
This photo captures the joy we experienced when we discovered the trail again after being briefly lost in the woods.
After our exhilarating adventure (AKA: hiking), we ate a delicious meal of barbecue recommended by our locals, and then went to a strip mall where we shopped the sales, Kasey and George got excellent jackets, and we ate some quality ice cream.
That night back at the cabin, I took advantage of the wide open skies to take some shots of the stars to work on my astrophotography.
(Can you see Grandfather Mountain in the distance?)
Our trip was short, but sweet. I spent a good piece of it worrying about Hurricane Matthew and the devastation happening to our home. Despite that, I know that Boone is beautiful, that the restaurants are amazing, that our host and his friends were very entertaining and welcoming, and that I continue to love the Appalachians.
“There is nothing prettier in the world than a girl in love with every breath she takes.” -Atticus
Until next time,