Sunday, August 4, 2013

horsing around.

Every once in a while Pretty much on the daily, I am an awesome wife who does nice incredibly thoughtful things for the man I love. Last weekend was one of those times. 

After being gone for way too long, I figured R and I needed a little romantic retreat. I planned a surprise trip to Western Virginia for a couple nights in a mountain cabin and a day of hiking, then we'd drive down to Asheville, North Carolina for some beer tasting and some night life. My big surprise went off wonderfully and R was really excited. In addition to no cell service (which equals solitude), we had such a great time of reconnecting together. It's like we didn't know we needed a weekend away until we were there and it was JUST what we needed to really close the door on this deployment and start to feel like ourselves again. 

 Here are some of the other things that made our trip so awesome: 

The cabin we stayed at is owned by people who also run a horse rescue. The pastures where the horses graze came right up to the driveway of the cabin. Naturally, being this close to any animal that wasn't in a zoo was pretty exciting for me. I named the horses and kept tabs on them and frequently walked down to the driveway to make sure they were still okay. Yes. I am a little ridiculous when I am not in the city. 

Naturally, being this close to wine is something I feel much more comfortable with.

We also did a little playing with our fancy DSLR camera, which R knows much more about than I do, and he was showing me the basics. I think he makes a fantastic subject. 

After a gloriously lazy, rainy morning, we headed out to climb Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia. R has a goal of climbing the highest peaks in each of the 50 states. I accompanied him for a few of them, and some he's done on other trips. This was part of the surprise for him, so he could check another off his list. Mt. Rogers made Peak # 6. 

The summit was unfortunately entirely anticlimactic. It was a short, but tough hike up and the thick tree cover and muddy trails made for a depressing end point. We actually heard other hikers come up after us and miss the summit marker entirely, only to walk back and give a lack luster, "Oh. Here it is. We passed it." 

Some of the views at the top were worthwhile, though. 

However, we were rewarded on the way down with this little run in! The state park is known for wild ponies and signs at the trail head let people know the etiquette, (no feeding, no harassing. Who would harass a wild pony!?) On the way up we saw a few in the distance, but we didn't really get a close look at them. But on the way down, this mama and her colt were right on the trail!  

Mama was pretty aloof and minded her own business while she munched on grass, but baby was very curious about us. 

I thought getting up close to the horses by the cabin was pretty much the most amazing animal encounter I'd ever had. Well I just about lost my mind when this little baby girl let me pet her and she nibbled my hand looking for a treat. (I am probably breaking park rules by petting her, so please don't report me to the nature police...I did not feed her, though! And I didn't even think of harassing her. In fact, I probably made a fool of myself talking to her in baby talk and treating her like she was Black Beauty.) I was never a horse kid growing up, but I think I regressed to an 8 year old girl that afternoon. After we left, I just kept turning to R with a perma-grin and saying, "Did you see that?! Did you see me pet the baby pony!?" 

After our hike and pony adventure, we grilled out and sipped bourbon drinks while we watched the sun set. I mean, it really doesn't get much better than that. I'm pretty sure I dreamed of horses that night. 

The next day we left the cabin for Asheville, NC; a very cool city with a seriously cool craft beer scene. There are somewhere around 15 breweries in and around the city, and new ones are opening all the time. We did our best to visit as many as we could in a walking distance from our hotel downtown. We were pretty successful... which explains the lack of pictures. 

On the way out of Asheville, R said he had one quick stop to make. Turns out the highest point in North Carolina, Mount Mitchell, wasn't far off our route, and (lucky for me) it's a peak you can drive to! So, with almost no effort at all, R checked Peak #7 off the list. 

The view at the top of Mt. Mitchell was way more rewarding, even though it only cost us a lazy 100 yard walk. Although, sadly, there were no horses on this trail.

It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend filled with beautiful scenery, good drinks, and the very best company.


  1. You are pretty much the best wife ever. That sounds like the most fantastic trip and reading this post made me miss Josh and you guys.

    And, I feel the same way as you do ... who would harass a wild pony? But I saw people harassing kangaroos in Australia (and who would harass a kangaroo?) so there must be crazy pony harassers out there somewhere too.

  2. I really just feel like the the words 'harass' and 'kangaroo' do not belong together at all. Who are these people!?

    Miss you guys, too!