Adventure Time [Deep Creek Edition]

JR and I tackled the Deep Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this past weekend. We camped one night and did 14.3 miles of hiking over two days.

All packed up and ready to hit the trail!
Packed and Ready

The view from the trailhead on 441 …
Trailhead View

And … we’re off! Even just doing an overnight, my pack was damn heavy.
Trailhead Portrait

The upper end of the Deep Creek trail is pretty remote and we had lots of solitude. We encountered a ton of blowdowns and deadfalls that we had to climb over, under, and around.
Blow Downs!

At one point, Deep Creek was spilling over its banks and actually took over the tail. It was nothing but rushing water.

The trail guide lied to us about a few creek crossings that could be rock-hopped. The water was too deep and we had to take off our boots and wade. I was a bit annoyed by this and attempted crossing a tributary with my boots on. Needless to say, I fell and ended up with a couple of trail trophies and totally soaked boots. Hiking in wet boots and socks is not fun.
Trail Trophy

Further down the trail, we encountered an area where deadfalls and the creek had obliterated the trail completely. Can you find your way through?
Missing Trail

We ended up wading through a pool of water on the left (just out of frame in the above photo) and along the left side of the creek until we climbed over the root ball of a blowdown.

Here’s JR making it across …

Once we got past this, it was smooth hiking down to Campsite 59. We even found a footbridge … though this crossing was shallow enough to walk through. Go figure.

We also ran into a trail friend sunning himself. Actually, I almost stepped on him. Ha, ha. But no worries because it’s a harmless brown snake.

After nine miles, We got into camp early enough to have the pick of the best spot, get set up, and even take an afternoon nap. Heavenly! I always set my tent up close to JR’s so he can rescue me if there are any bear attacks in the middle of the night.Campsite 59

We had a relaxing, uneventful night and were up on the trail early the next morning. Five miles later we arrived at the lower trailhead outside of Bryson City.

All-in-all, it was a great trip!
Done and Done

And for no real reason, here’s a collection of trail signs along the Deep Creek Trail.

 

Adventure Time [Deep Creek Edition]

A Wee Hike

Kiki and I took a hike on Saturday to soak in the views from the rocky outcroppings near the summit of Chestnut Bald. I also showed her one of my most favorite places on the planet.

ViewsChestnut Bald Views

Solitude
A Place of Solitude

If the weather cooperates, JR and I will be off this coming weekend for an overnight backpacking trip on the Deep Creek Trail. Please be sweet to us, Mother Nature!

A Wee Hike

Week … Whatever

Here we are on week “whatever” of our “stay at home” adventures. North Carolina has extended our stay at home orders until May 8th. After that we will begin a slow 3-phase reopening plan. Hopefully, this is the smart way to make things happen. It’s going to be interesting to see if Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina get spanked with a lot of new infections because of their sudden re-openings. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, these Cheese Sticks from Sauced were one of the major highlight of the weekend. Ha, ha.
Cheese Sticks from Sauced

We *might* have disobeyed those stay at home orders and tripped to Gatlinburg on Sunday to pick up some moonshine from the two distilleries that were open. It was a bit weird to see NOBODY out and about on streets that are normally teaming with tourists. We saw maybe 10 other people and about as many businesses open. Craziness.

Of course, the Mysterious Mansion is closed and we are seriously sad about that!
Mysterious Mansion ... CLOSED!

Back at home, we tried out some new things with the moonshine that was purchased. Needless to say, Moonshine-Laced Mini Milkshakes are gonna be my new lover. SugarlandsDark Chocolate Coffee Sippin’ Creme is perfect for this task. Yum!
Moonshine-Laced Milkshakes

Week … Whatever

NYC [Pandemic Edition]

After a week and half of me stressing out totally over going to New York City in the current world situation … we went to New York. The idea of loosing the money on the theater tickets and hotel was just too much to bear. So we headed out last Thursday.

The nearly empty plane should have been a sign. Seriously. There were ten people on this 70 seat plane.
Empty Plane

We arrived in New York City to the news that Broadway had closed down and we were not going to get to see any theater. Well, shit. We Uber-ed into the city, checked in the hotel and got settled.

You gotta love this beautiful view from our room. Ha, ha.
Hotel View

We decided to walk around some before dinner. The city seemed busy, but not overly so. Here are the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center. Not nearly as many as there usually are.
Rockefeller Center

I love this They Live themed billboard at the corner of 7th and 48th in Times Square.
Awesome Billboard

We had an incredible dinner a OBAO on 9th in Hell’s Kitchen. Yum.
Pho Bo at OBAO

After dinner we walked around the Theater District and I tortured myself by going by the now darkened theaters of the shows we were supposed to see. Seriously crushed to not be able to see Hangmen.
Hangmen at The Golden
Book of Mormon at the O'Neill

We went back to the hotel, but I was craving donuts. So, I went back out and got some at the Dunkin’ across 8th. Jelly Filled and Chocolate Covered with Sprinkles!

We also found out on Thursday that all the museums had shut down as well. There went our backup plan. Dammit. So, we Uber-ed into Brooklyn and had an early lunch at Junior’s. It’s my kind of place!
Junior's in Booklyn

We caught a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse. I now know I would give my left nut to have an Alamo Drafthouse close by. Such a cool movie theater chain.
Alamon Drafthouse in Brooklyn

Since we were close to the Brooklyn Bridge, we decided to walk that way back into Manhattan. It was a really beautiful day to be out and about!
Brooklyn Bridge
Pandemic Tourists
Brooklyn Bridge

And then we just kept on walking. We navigated up into the West Village and had drinks at The Stonewall Inn. Then we went around the corner and found my old friend, Ian. I hadn’t seen him in years, so it was great to show up unannounced and surprise him. For the record, this picture is not a good example of social distancing.
Old Friends

Then we continued our walk up to 44th and had pizza at John’s Pizzaria. I guess that was the one good thing about Broadway being shut down. We were actually able to get a table there with no wait. Once back at the hotel, I decided to go out one last time to see Time Square. I might have stopped at the Junior’s Bakery on 45th and gotten a slice of Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake. Yum (again)!

We were supposed to be in the city until Sunday but had decided to change our flight to Saturday just to get out of the city early (and away from any carriers). Delta let us switch with no added fees and we were able to upgrade to first class for cheap. So fancy!
First Class Drinks!

We did end up loosing to money on the hotel for Saturday night. Oh well. We made the best of it but the trip was a bit of a bust. Had we know one day earlier that Broadway was going to go dark, we would have cancelled the trip. Double oh well.

We were very proactive in regards to our safety with lots of hand washing and sanitizing and touching as little as possible … especially our faces. As a precaution, we are self-quarantining for the next 14 days since we were out and about in (what I suspect is) a fairly active contagion zone.

Hopefully, this mess will pass through quickly and with as little death and disruption as possible. Everyone stay safe (and stay socially distant)!

NYC [Pandemic Edition]

Human Again

A couple of weeks ago, the boyfriend got diagnosed with Strep (and the Flu). Fun. I felt fatigued and not great all that week but managed not to get fully sick. Everyone was better for one day and then I came down with a cold. Ugh.

Thankfully, the one good day for me was the day we had long standing plans to go drink moonshine in Gatlinburg with A&A. We might have even thrown some cider from the Tennessee Cider Company in there.

Ole Smoky Moonshine

Of course, we might have had to romp through the Mysterious Mansion. Spooky!
Mysterious Mansion!

Michelle is unexpectedly back in town … now a refugee from China due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Even with me not at 100% (yay, cold), we went for burgers, beer, green bean fries and karaoke. Michelle seriously is the best.
Best. Human. Ever.

And, on Saturday, we tripped down to Anderson, SC for a super tasty dinner at Reed’s. The Mac ‘N Cheese he made was off the chain!

The work week is now underway. Ugh. But, the big excitement for the week will be going to see The Lodge tomorrow night. Whoo!

Human Again

Updating Randomness

Yeah. Things have been going. Last week was stressful as one one my bosses ended up in the hospital and I had to cover all her work (on top of mine) for three days. Ugh. Thankfully, things are looking up and she was back at work today.

Meanwhile …

I got started on and finished the Stranger Things: The Upside Down LEGO set that I got for our anniversary in December. It was fun to make … but, I really do hope Will Byers survives. Plus … how cute is that Demogorgon minifig? Very!
Lego Stanger Things The Upside Down
Run, Will! Run!

I took my sister to Biltmore. I love this picture I took (near the grand staircase) with lots of overlapping archways.

We went bowling with our friend, Chris, at Sky Lanes. My highest score was 86 which confirms that I suck as bowling. Here’s David getting ready to gutter-ball it. 😛
Sky Lanes Fun

On the vinyl collecting front, I have FINALLY managed to acquire a first pressing of X‘s debut album, Los Angles. Score!
X: Los Angeles

Meanwhile, meanwhile …

I watched two more of the Best Picture nominees.
1917 (Technically impressive but DOA as far as tension and emotional engagement.)
Joker (It’s Taxi Driver-Lite. Just watch Taxi Driver. It’s sooooooooo much better!)

So, yeah. Totally bumfuzzled as to how Joker scored the most Oscar nominations this year. Parasite is still the movie to beat. Seriously. Go see Parasite!

Updating Randomness

Welcome to 2020

So … a new year. Hopefully it will be better than 2019.

2019 vs 2020

Yeah. I am really living for these horror-themed memes about what a shit year 2019 was.

Meanwhile … we might have been spotted out and about on New Year’s Eve.NYE 2020

Meanwhile, meanwhile … Pet Shop Boys have dropped a new single. Delicious!

Welcome to 2020

Survivin’ It

So, yeah … the first Christmas after Dad died. Survived it. My step-mother decided to still have the annual Christmas Eve Breakfast for Dinner Gathering. The familiarity of it was nice but sad at the same time without Dad running around handing out presents to everyone. Nobody got weepy which was good. I saved that for a few of days later.

I was in Walmart on Friday evening and walked past a guy who was wearing a uniform from the place my dad managed right up until he got too sick to work. Dad generally wasn’t seen out of his work shirt the last few years. The loss and sadness really hit me. I managed to make it out of the store and back to the car before breaking down and creating a scene.

Saturday we tripped over the Gatlinburg with Graham and Kristen for moonshine and an escape room adventure. The usual places were visited … Ole Smoky, Sugarlands, and Doc Collier.

Big Maw Bertha’s Fussin’ & A’ Feudin’ Moonshine Hill Hootenanny
Graham and Kristen are big into escape rooms and wanted to check out MOONSHINE HILL HOOTENANNY at Gatlin’s Escape Games. The room was fun and way more high tech than I thought it would be. I felt like we overthought some of the puzzles and that got us behind time with only one hour to break into Maw’s shack, sabotage her moonshine recipe, and blow her ‘shine still to smithereens. SPOILERS: We failed (and found out that Kristen’s desire to win is both awesome and a little scary). But it was fun and I am looking forward to trying another escape room sometime soon.

And yesterday, I was bummed to read about the passing of Vaughan Oliver, mastermind designer of some the most iconic album sleeves of the 80’s and 90’s. He provided the visuals that went right along side of some of my favorite albums of the era (most notably for me are Cocteau Twins’ Treasure, The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa and Doolittle, and The Breeders’ Last Splash).

Vaughan Oliver

Survivin’ It

Pluggin’ Away At It

Yeesh. December has been too busy. When did I become such a social butterfly?

Friday: Shortlegs and Tom came over with pizza and we watched Midsommar.
Saturday: We went to the annual G&S Christmas Party. I got very drunk.
Sunday: We went to a WNCAP fundraiser at a bar. I didn’t get very drunk.
Monday: Ev & Em came over for egg nog and we had pizza and watched The Long Kiss Goodnight.

Here’s my spectacular holiday attire for the Christmas party. Yay, selfies.
Holiday Cheer

I might have also been photographed looking like a dough boy at the local rec center. Yeah. We are thinking about joining for fitness and stuff.
Dough Boy

And, I couldn’t resist buying this shirt. In reality, I have lots of bothers to give.
No Bothers Given T-Shirt

Pluggin’ Away At It

Wrap Up [Thanksgiving ’19 Edition]

What’s the best way to not overeat and get too drunk at Thanksgiving? Why, plan a hike for 8:00 am the next morning! Jack, Josh and I romped over Waterrrock Knob then over Browing Knob then over the summit of Mt Lyn Lowry and out to the memorial cross on the ridge.

Browning Knob View
The view of Yellow Face and Blackrock Mountain from Browning Knob.

Mt. Lyn Lowry Hike
Looking towards Maggie Valley from the cross. Plott Balsam is the peak on the right.

Mt. Lyn Lowry Hike
Looking down into Waynesville from the cross.

Mt. Lyn Lowry Hike
The cross on Mt. Lyn Lowry.

And here’s some other things that have recently happened …

Egg Nog!
I made this year’s batch of egg nog. It’s damn tasty, if I do say so myself.

Biltmore Wine Tasting
We went to taste wine at Biltmore with Alvin. We also got to have a glass of wine in the special Wine Club members only area of the Winery. Talk about feeling classy.

Knives Out
We went and saw Knives Out. I really dug it. As a friend said … “Let’s see, murder mystery, twisted humor, Chris Evans… yep, that checks out as a Chuck flick.” Ha, ha.

And I might have (yet again) gone crazy buying movies in all the Black Friday insanity. There will be a photo posted once all the online orders arrive. Someone needs to take my bank account away!

That stupid cat meme that’s been going around totally applies …
The Truth About Movies

Wrap Up [Thanksgiving ’19 Edition]

Monday, Monday

I have been in a pretty weird head space since last Wednesday. We went to see Doctor Sleep (which was really good) and a scene in it set me off. I have known that would happen after all that went on with Dad. So, It’s taken quiet a few days to maybe start feeling like myself again. I have hopefully hit that point today.

Over the weekend, we were back in Gatlinburg for moonshine on Saturday and ate a fancy brunch yesterday. Last night I was sitting on the sofa reflecting on the events of the weekend and they already felt distant … like I had been outside myself watching them happen but hadn’t actually been participating. It’s a weird sensation that I have never experienced before and it was a bit freaky.

Regardless, the view yesterday from a friend’s house was quite spectacular. The mountains here are majestic and awesome.

Purchase Road View

Monday, Monday