A Weekend in the Mountains

15 03 2013

I’m going to attribute my lack of blog posts over the past week and a half to my spring break. That’s right, I get a spring break! It’s one of the perks of working for the school district; however, it is technically unpaid (my salary is prorated throughout the course of the year to make up for it) so that is definitely a drawback. But, having a week off of work is pretty darn nice. Especially when you can spend some time here:

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photos courtesy of Meghann

Last week, I tacked on two extra days to my spring break to head up to northern Georgia for a long weekend with my friends. It was a needed break and a nice change of scenery from Tampa.

Me, Bill and 8 of our friends rented a log cabin in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Man oh man was it gorgeous up there! The mornings were chilly, but when the sun came out it warmed up enough for us to head outdoors and explore.  On Friday, we drove about 30 minutes or so to a trail suggested by the guidebook in our cabin. It just so happened to take us to a section of the Appalachian Trail!

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We hiked for a short distance, maybe only 10 minutes or so, before arriving at pretty waterfall. Stopped at the waterfall were two women, one who was treating her blistered feet. I asked her how far she was planning on going and her response was “Hopefully, all 2000 miles of it!” Wow, what an undertaking! Since reading Wild, a book about a woman’s solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, I’ve had a heightened  interest in hiking, so my thoughts immediately started wondering about the trek that lies ahead. I can only imagine the things she’ll see, the people she’ll meet, the stories she’ll tell. How cool to have that experience! 

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After pausing by the waterfall for a few minutes, we continued to hike for about another half an hour. We paused for the obligatory group photo (sans Marcus, who took the picture for us), since we hadn’t really seen any other hikers since leaving the waterfall.

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Photo courtesy of Meghann

It was close to lunchtime (or past?) so we turned around and headed back to the cars. On the way back down, we spotted some more hikers making their trek north. Some were clearly day hikers like us, but some appeared to be in it for the long haul. What a journey! I wonder how many of them will make it the whole way?

We paused for some more photos to commemorate the day.

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Can I just say that I was so, so, so happy that Bill was able to come on vacation with me? With his busy schedule, it’s hard to plan a trip together. I was planning on going with my friends when we started talking about the trip months ago, but Bill was always a big question mark. As the trip got closer, Bill’s schedule was clear, but I tried not to get my hopes up. Thankfully, his schedule remained clear, and he was able to come too!

Being on the Appalachian was a pretty cool way to kick off the weekend in the mountains. It was actually one of the highlights of the trip for me! I’m a big fan of getting in some exercise in ways that are fun and different, aka not running, biking, or swimming. 🙂

On our second day, our group headed out to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia.

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There’s a 2.5 mile windy, steep road up to a ridge where there’s a large parking lot before you can make the last .6 mile trek up to the very top. I was feeling a little car sick from the 45 minute drive to get to the base of the mountain, so when it was suggested that we hop out and run/walk up to the top, I agreed. I figured it was better to tough it out by walking up the 2.5 miles at an 11% grade than to feel miserable while driving up the mountain and trying not to puke.

Felipe and Bill decided they were going to run the whole thing, while Courtney, Jess and I decided to play it by ear. We’d start by walking and then run if we felt up to it. The other half of the group opted to drive up to the parking lot.

Holy hill! I felt like I was walking on a treadmill at the highest incline…and then some! We definitely got our hearts pumping and started to sweat.

It was still pretty chilly in the shade, and we spotted some remnants from the snow they received a few days prior.
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How odd to be warm enough to be in a sports bra while holding snow!

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We celebrated when we spotted the 1 mile marker…but the celebration didn’t last long, since we knew we were only a third of the way to the top. We started to challenge ourselves along the way, saying Ok, we’ll run to that next big tree. Or, when there was a relatively flat section, we’d try to run for 100 yards or so.


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After about 5 intervals or so, we made it to the parking lot, where we caught up with Felipe and Bill. Only .6 to go! Finally, we made it to top where we spotted some friendly faces 🙂

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It was beautiful up there! IMG_6376

We took a few group shots before heading down to the cars and back to the cabin for our last night. This was again an awesome way to get in some exercise, and I used some muscles I don’t get to use while running in flat as a pancake Tampa.

We wrapped up our last night with some fun games of charades and catch phrase, s’mores around the fireplace, and playing a few rounds of pool. So. Relaxing.

I’m going to be super cheesy here because honestly this was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. I absolutely enjoyed the scenery and the activities, but I really enjoyed just spending time with my friends. We had meals together, played games together and just enjoyed our mountain experience together. I would happily vacation with these guys again…we’ve already begun chattering about the next trip 🙂

For more details about the trip, check out Meghann’s posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Mary’s post!

Question of the Day: Have you ever been on a group vacation? How was it? 

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11 responses

15 03 2013
Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter

That looks like such an awesome trip! The photos are awesome. My parents have a cabin near Highlands, NC not too far from the trail. I hiked 3-days of it with my dad years ago but I’d love to do it again!

15 03 2013
beka @ rebecca roams

What a great idea 🙂 I’d LOVE to do something like this with a bunch of friends. One thing I do miss about living in Cali is the proximity of mountains/hills and hiking!

15 03 2013
321delish

Blogger getaway?!?

15 03 2013
Christine Pittman (@CookTheStory)

Wow! That looks like such a beautiful trip. What I wouldn’t do for some fresh mountain air!

15 03 2013
Meghann

Awww… Steph! Great post! I loved out mountain adventure too! When can we go back?

16 03 2013
321delish

Let’s go back when it’s miserably hot here:)

15 03 2013
Steph

I absolutely adore the area. We’ve vacationed in Blairsville (the city where Brasstown bald is) for about 10 years now, renting a cabin right near the base of the mountain. It love the small town feel, the scenery, and of course, chilling in those beautiful mountain cabins. It really is one of my favorite trips take, and I look forward to it every year! Glad you guys had a great time!!

16 03 2013
thethinkingcloset

Yay for group vacations! Looks like you really made the most of your spring break…and hooray for being able to enjoy it with Bill.

One of my most memorable group vacays was spring break during our senior year at Wheaton. My apartment mates, Rebecca, Crissie, and Becky joined forces with our theatre buddies Chad, Greg, and Todd (now my bro-in-law) and roadtripped down to Crissie’s grandmother’s house in Beehouse Texas. We had such a fun time exploring caves, jumping in swimming holes, cooking dinner, doing yoga on the front porch. It was seriously one of the highlights of my life! Thanks for bringing that memory back to mind with your story.

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