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  • Writer's pictureJulie Branstetter

Roses Blooming, Mountains High

Updated: Mar 24

We probably just saw our last frost for the winter. Now everything is green and the roses are blooming. There are rose bulbs on every bush and even the squirrels are enjoying them to my despise. We just took a camping trip up to the North Carolina Mountains. It was the first time my daughters had ever seen the mountains. We scheduled a trip a couple of years ago in October but on the very weekend we planned the trip the campgrounds received ice and sleet and rain for the whole weekend so we cancelled prior to the vacation because we didn't want the girls camping in icy rainy conditions and frankly we didn't want to either. For a first trip we just wanted it to be great for them because we plan to camp out often in the years to come. Good first impressions are always good. So we rented a larger car, packed up every nook and cranny of it and hit the road.

We enjoyed it immensely but there were a few funny snags along the way. Unfortunately I packed one very large and warm comforter and one thin, small, not rated for outdoor camping comforter. Opse... My poor husband spent the first night wrapped in every piece of cloth we brought, shivering eyes wide open all night, and writing out his will. I'm not sure he left me in it either. The girls and I were very warm under our comforter. We also had a heater going in the tent, but in the hour before the sun breaks (coldest hour of night) it did all it could and that wasn't much with temperatures down to 29. We had a wonderful tent site at Honey Bear Campgrounds. We pitched our tent only 5 feet from a rushing creek and the girls enjoyed hoping stones in the creek all weekend. If you ever enjoy a similar setting take my advice and have the littlest one in your group go ahead and use the restroom a second time before bedtime. All that rushing water could leave you not so high and dry. So during the night my husband spent his wide awake hours praying for the night to end and the cold to pass. When we woke up the next morning he received an answer to his prayers. A camping neighbor was looking for someone to unload several winter sleeping bags onto because they had purchased a popup camper and didn't need them any longer. Free of charge, my husband would sleep in warmth the following night. Another camper int he campsite also offered us a tent heater to use for our last night and that heater really did the job! The daytime temps were gorgeous though. With short sleeve shirts and sunny days at about 75 degrees, we couldn't have asked for nicer weather. Not a drop of rain the entire weekend really added to the enjoyment of the whole trip. The mountains were not in full bloom just yet but they were beautiful and vast none the less. We enjoyed gem mining, eating out and shopping right in Boone, and on our last day we took a trip up to Grandfather Mountain to see a few animals and enjoy some NC fudge for the Fudge shop. A success!! The only thing I discovered that was unpleasant was a new found fear of heights from where it came I do not know. On our way to Howard's Knob, we just had to turn around and come back. I could barely stand it. I've never been so scared in my whole life. I don't find riding with our tire literally only about 6 inches from a crumbling slope edge with no guard rail pleasant. Maybe you will enjoy it, but I will never visit that spot again. I don't know how on earth I ever use to go there so much when I attended college at ASU. I'm getting older I guess. I get nervous on rides at the fair now if my children are on them with me too so perhaps it's a protective instinct that I have no control over, I can't know, but what I do know is, I shall be a ground level lover from now on. ;) I was reminded on Easter Sunday how big and beautiful God's creation is and how small I am in it all. I felt very close to God, maybe uncomfortably close to Him on Howard's Knob, but none the less, I was aware of His greatness the whole time we were there. What a blessing it is just to live. Everyone will die one day but not everyone will live so make today matter wherever you are and don't forget to stop and enjoy the view!

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