The mountains are calling

The beach is great.  I’ve been to some beautiful beaches, and I am always happy to see more of the ocean.  But my longing to go to the mountains is deeper, longer-lasting, more constant.  (And me saying this has nothing to do with the recent spate of shark attacks on North Carolina beaches.) Last week, I read a New York Times travel article about Asheville, and since then I’ve been reminiscing about how much I loved our trip to Asheville and Pisgah National Forest last August. And also playing, like the total novice I am, with the photographs I took on the trip in Photoshop.

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View from the Blue Ridge Parkway. This picture used to be very, very blue.

That picture was from the one day on our trip that we were able to see through the clouds enshrouding the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It rained a LOT. But the forest was breathtakingly beautiful even without the view.

The mountains in Pisgah National Forest reminded me of the mountains in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, where I spent summers as a child–not peaky like the West, but tree-covered and tall for the Appalachians.  And the vegetation reminded me of the vegetation of the Pacific Northwest, near where I went to college–all full of rhododendron and moss and lichen.

We hiked during the days . . .

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A river on the unfortunately named Graveyard Fields loop.

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Hiding in the grass off a trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Before Photoshop, Sasso was on leash.

. . . and tried out Asheville’s amazing restaurants at night.  Our favorite was the Laughing Seed Cafe, which serves delicious and creative vegetarian food.

On our drive back to Chapel Hill, we stopped at Chimney Rock, a striking but overly touristy bit of rock hurling itself from the valley floor:

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As soon as we left, I began plotting my next trip to Asheville and the North Carolina Blue Ridge. Sasso and I did explore some of the Blue Ridge farther north in October, and it definitely was beautiful, but the mountains in Pisgah National Forest are still calling.

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Sasso also hears the call of the mountains. And is relieved that Photoshop relieved her of her collar as well as her leash. Such freedom!

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