Category Archives: Uncategorized

Daddy and Dupont

Last week my sweet sweet daddy came and visited me in Asheville. Most times my parents come and visit me together but, this time it was just daddy and me! We spent the day over in DuPont State Forest, just a stones throw away from my aunt’s cabin. I had never been before and really did not know what to expect. The extent of my knowledge was knowing that The Hunger Games was filmed there.

Dad and I explored both high falls and triple falls in the forest. We ended up hiking about 3.5 miles round trip. All of this was done with my backpack on my back and my dad’s camera and tripod over his shoulder. Nothing could stop us though. We climbed up the rocks of triple falls and swam in the pool at the top and then made our way over to high falls and walked on the overlook bridge. These waterfalls were STUNNING. As I mentioned in my last post, waterfalls are one of my favorite things and getting to experience that with my dad made it even more special. I would recommend DuPont State Forest, as well as the entire Brevard Area to anyone! It is filled with simplicity, community and natural beauty.

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Waterfalls

I get asked a lot if I like the beach or the mountains more. It’s a hard question to answer. I grew up at the beach and now I live in the mountains. I love them both equally, which is why I love Maine, but, what almost puts mountains ahead of the beach are waterfalls. With mountains come beautifully flowing mountain water. I’ve jumped off them, I’ve swam under them, I’ve hiked to them, I’ve journeyed around them, and I’ve photographed them. Every waterfall leaves me speechless. Living in Asheville this summer I am just a few minutes down the road from “land of the waterfalls,” Transylvania county. I haven’t made my way through barley half of them but, I am enjoying crossing them off my list one by one.

If someone was to ask me my favorite place in the world, it would probably be in front of a waterfall. No waterfall in particular, just directly in front of one. You can feel the air and the mist coming at you from 10 feet away and bare witness to the power of the moving water. Most of the time the water is cold but, it’s worth it to immerse yourself in a natural swimming pool filled with water straight from the mountain.

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From top to bottom looking glass falls, sliding rock, and skinny dip falls

Separation Anxiety

I have been in Asheville for almost a month now. Not having too many friends up here it has been challenging, but surprisingly enjoyable. I am practicing yoga, slowly eating my way through Asheville, reading for fun, exploring all of the popular attractions, and mostly enjoying living in a city that has a Trader Joe’s. I think I may go to Trader Joe’s way too many times within a week. 

My friends and I are scattered all over for the summer, doing our own things and mostly just  trying to make our parents proud :). After talking to my friend that is currently in Spain and another friend that is leaving for New York tomorrow I realized how far we have all come. It seems that just yesterday my friends and I were planted on Wrightsville Beach discussing what we were going to wear to all of our High School Graduation Festivities, and now, 3 years later, we are rising college seniors trying to find ourselves while at the same time attempting to do something meaningful. Pretty sappy stuff, I know, I know.

Truth is, I miss my friends. I miss our favorite crappy Mexican restaurant, the horrible smell of our fridge, standing at the bus stop, going to the gym at 10pm, watching Harry Potter weekend marathons, talking about our days, and Monday night froyo. This separation from my friends and family is hard, no denying it, but honestly, I can’t complain. I have incredible friends that are doing something meaningful, I’m working at an internship that I love, and I’m living in a city with endless amount of things to do. Things are bittersweet, but when I stop to think, the big picture is that life is sweet. I may have to do some things alone this summer, but at least I get to do them. I am thinking of this as my summer of rest (even though my internship exhausts me) and of solitude. This is my chance to recharge. I even got my hair cut, a new “do” for a new time in my life. It’s my “almost and adult” hair cut. It is still youthful and has some length to it, however, it is tame enough to look professional. I know this experience is all apart of God’s plan for me and I am really excited to see how many more doors this summer will open for me. Who knows, maybe I will turn into a yoga protege. Hahaha.

On my my next few days off I plan on doing a little solo hiking, plenty of reading and trying out a new restaurant. I have been craving craving craving Japanese food and have been scouting out where I should head to.

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Asheville

Hey friends! It has been too long since I have last blogged. Exams, moving and transitioning into my internship have been all consuming. I have been in Asheville for two weeks now, feel comfortable in my internship and now have come to a place where I am ready to blog.

As many of you know, or may not know I am doing my internship at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore is America’s largest home that was built by George Vanderbuilt and finished in 1895. It now sits on 8,000 acres of land. I work in the Outdoor Adventure Center which offers adventure activities to further explore the 8,000 of natural land, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The landscape is stunning and my drive into work has yet to get old. After work I went on a run through one of the estates paved trails. It really hit me that I was running and working on a piece of treasured land that was designed and developed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, a man I had only learning about in the classroom.

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I have spent the past two weeks exploring Asheville. I am still no expert on the city but I am enjoying being immersed in the Asheville culture and have a sense of pride to be able to say that I work at Biltmore. Something about moving to a city where I know no one, not even my roommates, makes me feel like a real adult. Working full time, I can slowly see myself turning into my parents, going to bed at 9:30pm and waking up at sunrise even on my days off. Coming from two summers of being surrounded my hundreds of campers and camp counselors, having alone time is a challenge for me, but I am embracing this challenge and looking forward to the growth and opportunities that this summer will provide.

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Backpacking Grayson Highlands

I spent Easter Weekend, and a few days extra, backpacking through Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Having never been to this area I was not sure what to expect. I had seen pictures from friends’ trips and looked online but that still didn’t prepare me for the experience. Some highlights included visiting with wild ponies, splashing in creeks, bushwhacking, hiking the the highest point in Virginia and eating delicious food. At many points I felt as though I ways on another content, not just a few hours away from my home. The rocky terrain and the vast open valleys made me feel as though I was trekking through the set of The Hobbit. We spent 4 days in the backcountry, picking up and moving camps every night. Each new day came with its own new environment. One day we could only see trees in the distance and the next we were hiking through a mossy forest covered by the canopy of evergreens. One day we had to hike a ways for water and the next day we were swimming in a creek. It was rewarding to know that I was able to see all of this beauty by foot, that I had walked, crawled, hiked, climbed and traversed every mile. On the last day we pulled out the map to figure out where we started, days before, and it was now a peak in the distance.

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On our last night we ended up sleeping at Wise Shelter, the 500 mile marker along the Appalachian Trail. There must have been 30 hikers staying in that area and we actually had the opportunity to feed a pair of hikers some dinner. That night we saw people of all ages and all walks of life set up camp together. Some had accents and some didn’t, some where alone and some were in pairs, and some seemed like experienced backpackers and others appeared to be beginners. It was entertaining to witness their community that they had all formed. Many had been hiking together for weeks now, and others had just met at the town before. They all supported of each other, encouraged each other, and shared their belongings and stories with each other. I was glad I got to be a part of this literal milestone on their journey.

How cool is it that nature, and the simple act of hiking along trail has the power to change peoples lives and create such an incredible community? 

P L A Y

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This weekend I bowled, climbed an alpine tower, flew in the air connected to wires and a harness, picked up trash from a local river, played kickball, shared a meal with friends, roller bladed and did homework outside. I got to play. At the end of the day, when I hopped into the shower I could see dirt running off of me, little scratches appearing on my arms and legs and splinters on my hands. I felt like I was nine again and my mom put me straight into the bath after spending an entire day outside. This weekend was perfect. The sun was shining, it was warm, all of my friends were in town, and it was just what I needed.

On Sunday evening, when my weekend began to wind down, I realized how much of a gift it is to simply play. To lay in the grass, to get too much sun on my shoulders,to fly through the air,  to scream of excitement while I tried to remember how to rollerblade, to eat tacos with friends, to slide into second base during kickball, to get my clothes muddy. What a gift, and what a gift to have friends to do all of those things with.

Weekends like that can be hard to come by at the end of the semester. The weather gets better, but the homework gets harder. As I look at both the weekly forecast and my weekly schedule, it looks as though I will be inside, appreciating April showers, and turning in assignments. I am holding on to this past weekend, cherishing those moments, and using the motivation of having more just like it to get my homework done.

I Spoke Too Soon

I spoke too soon when I dedicated a whole post to the end if winter and the start of spring. Last night and into the morning my little college town was “graced” with a few inches of snow. Just when I thought my bean boots and warm jacket were packed for the season, I had to pull them out for, hopefully, one last time.

Last week, I mentioned that I was attempting to live my life more like a fisheye camera lens, with a wider view of the world around me. I challenged myself to read more and really soak up more knowledge. My two lest and multiple assignments seemed to get in the way of that a little bit but, I managed to find some time to read some great articles. Here are some that I would like to share with my fellow readers. I am fairly picky about what I read so, you know they have got to be good.

Is the Passport the New Resume
For all of you college kids out there reading this, go ahead and forward it right along to your parents. Even in my internship interviews I found myself chatting away and striking conversations about traveling. My mission trips, my cruise, working at camp in Maine and most recently Costa Rica have all found their way into some of my professional conversations.

“‘The benefits of studying abroad are almost endless,’ Obama said during the CNN iReport interview. ‘First of all, it is going to make you more marketable in the United States. More and more companies are realizing that they need people with experience around the world.'”

Ancient Shipwrechs Search

It might just be the National Treasure and Davinci Code lover inside of me that was drawn to this article but, regardless, I love anything with a hint of mystery of a treasure hunt.

For this week I am going to focus on appreciating the people I have in my life. My roommates, my friends from home, my friends at school, my family, my professors and heck I may even throw my dog a bone. I haven’t quite figured out how I am going to do this but I will keep ya posted!