Gmail

For those of you who use gmail, you may have noticed the new tabbed inbox with up to five separate tabs.  If you are receiving Bottling Moonlight posts via your gmail account, updated posts will now be sent to your “Social” tab instead of your “Primary” tab. To make sure you see updates from Bottling Moonlight, all you need to do is drag this email from the Social tab to the Primary tab. A small alert will pop up, just click “yes” and that’s it! From now on my emails will continue to go to your Primary inbox.

Blog Updates

I’m so happy that there are folks out there following along on our journey!  Since I’m now getting an audience beyond friends and family (!), I’ve made a few updates to the blog over the past couple of weeks.  If you haven’t yet had a chance, check out the updated “Our Route” page and the new “About Me” and “Links” pages.  Also, if you’re not already receiving copies of my new blog posts via email and you’d like to, you can sign up by just entering your email address under the heading: Follow Our Journey via Email, which is on the right side of the page.

One more thing before I go, my blog was recently added to the many great family traveling blogs on www.familiesontheroad.com.  If you’re interested in checking out other families doing something similar, there are many great blogs listed on the site.

Hiking

If you’re anything like me, you have a long list of things you’re interested in, many of which you hope to get around to learning or doing one day when you have time.  That list can be inspiring, but it can also make you feel guilty – like you’re not doing enough.  Gretchen Rubin discusses this in her popular book, The Happiness Project.  In it, she asks you to consider your life and what you actually make time for right now.  Those are the interests that are most important to you.  This  point has stayed with me since I read her book over a year ago.  My answer then is the same now and would be the same five years ago or ten years ago – hiking and reading.

In our many discussions leading up to this journey, Alan and I talked about how excited we were to be able to go hiking more often than once a week.  I (foolishly) thought that maybe we could go hiking every day.  This might be doable if was just me and Alan, but taking Van hiking every day would be a recipe for disaster.  Van loves to hike – loves it – and I don’t want to ruin it by turning it into a chore.  I also spent a lot of time before we left thinking about the many books I would bring and read during our journey.  We sent some ahead to Colorado to trade out when we arrive and left some with my parents in case we need a resupply when we see them in Arkansas.

Hiking and Reading.  So far, it seems that we’ll have a lot of opportunity to do the former, but less opportunity to do the latter.  I suppose that comes with the territory when you’re camping with a toddler.

We had our first opportunity to go hiking on this journey when we arrived in the Boone area.  We were lucky enough to spend three days in a row traveling on some magnificent trails.  Our first day took us to Linville Falls and Moses H. Cone Park, both on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Van spent most of the hike to the falls on Alan’s back (yelling “more, more” every time Alan would brush against leaves) and enjoyed the hike/walk along the carriage roads in Moses H. Cone Park in his stroller.

Linville Falls

Linville Falls

Butterfly at Linville Falls

Butterfly (or is it a moth?) at Linville Falls

View from Moses H. Cone Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway

View from Moses H. Cone Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Moses H. Cone Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Moses H. Cone Park

Moses H. Cone Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Moses H. Cone Park

Our second day of hiking took us to the resort town of Blowing Rock.  Before heading out on a hike, we went to see Blowing Rock itself, a cliff above Johns River Gorge that got its name from due to the current of air that flows upward due to the shape of the walls of the gorge so that if you throw very light objects off of Blowing Rock (emphasis on very), they’ll return to you.  I tested this with some pine needles and they boomeranged right back to me.  Not the same with the small pebble that fell into the gorge below.

Alan on the Blowing Rock

Alan on the Blowing Rock

Stacey on the Blowing Rock

Stacey on the Blowing Rock

Van blowing our cover - our ascent to the top of the Blowing Rock was so easy a toddler could (but should not) do it

Van blowing our cover – our ascent to the top of the Blowing Rock was so easy a toddler could (but should not) do it

After a picnic lunch, we set out for the Glen Burney Trail, which leaves right from the downtown of Blowing Rock.  It was a great trail that followed the river and took us to the ruins of an old sewage plant from the early 1900s and to two beautiful waterfalls.  Thankfully we had water for the uphill hike back – though we experienced snow just a few short days ago, it was pushing 80 during our afternoon hike.

We spent our third day of hiking at Stone Mountain.  It was a bit of a drive from our home base, but it was completely worth it.  We opted to do the four and a half mile loop trail, which took us up to the summit of Stone Mountain, down and around the other side by a waterfall.  We unknowingly took the hard approach, climbing a steep ascent for the first one and half miles, which allowed for a much more gradual descent over the last three miles.  As the signs below show, they take their warnings very seriously in this park!

One of many, many signs like this that we saw in the park.

One of many, many signs like this that we saw in the park.

Danger!  Danger!

Danger! Danger!

The view from Stone Mountain

The view from Stone Mountain

Our Little Hiker

Our Little Hiker

While getting our feet back on the trails was exciting, the highlight of our time in the Boone area was staying with a friend who I haven’t seen since college!  She and her family were kind enough to welcome us into their home and life for a couple of nights.  There is nothing better than spending the evening with friends after a long day outside, especially when those friends are excellent cooks who happen to cook the kinds of foods that you love.  A huge thank you to Sarah, Tom, and Carter – especially Carter who was great about sharing his toys with Van and didn’t mind having a superfan who followed him around everywhere.  It was truly an honor to get to spend a few evenings together and to witness the beautiful life that they’ve created in this corner of North Carolina.

Second birthday

On this occasion of my son’s (or sun’s – either works) second birthday, I wish to put to paper what I hope he learns from this upcoming adventure.  I know that he won’t remember much of our adventures, but I hope it provides a strong foundation for his adventures to follow.

Van, I hope you learn that any place you lay your head with love around you can be called a home, mattresses and indoor plumbing are great – but not required, there are few smells better than burning wood in a campfire, convenience is the enemy of freedom, you don’t melt in the rain, trees are meant for climbing and puddles are meant for stomping, following your gut will rarely fail you, vitamin D is best gained from the sun,  and, most of all, you can always reach up and grab our fingers – we’ll always be there when you need a hand or a shoulder or a hug or an ear.

Ready to go exploring

Ready to go exploring