Group of friends on top of a mountain.
Travel

My Trip to Bryson City, North Carolina/ Mi Viaje a la Cuidad de Bryson, Carolina del Norte

Hello! Welcome back to my blog. I am super excited to have you here! ūüôā

Let me start this post by establishing two facts about me:

  1. I never really liked the outdoors growing up. This could be for any number of reasons; maybe I just didn’t get out enough, or maybe I hadn’t found the right kind of outdoor activity that I would enjoy. But the fact remains that hiking, camping, fishing or swimming never appealed to me.
  2. In college I have met people who I know will be life long friends, and I was thrilled to have a whole week just hanging out with them doing just the things that I never liked before this past week.

Shortly after the Coronavirus entered the scene of the last part of the spring semester, a few people in our group started hatching a plan to go camping.

I was especially cognizant of the fact that at any moment, I might need to be ready to pack up all of my belongings, get an Italian visa and move to Italy to be with Micah.

I didn’t really believe that I would be able to go.

So, when June 22 rolled around and everything was looking like it was a go, I was more than happy to make chocolate chip cookies for the road, pack my duffle bag and climb into the back seat of my friend Reese’s car to make the 8-hour trek to the Smoky Mountains (to which I had never been before).

Really, the only hiccup we had in executing our plans was the closure of the camp ground at which we were going to stay. This was quickly remedied by the fact that my friends’ parents had a cabin in Bryson City where we would be able to camp for the week.

Today, I want to reflect on what the trip meant to me as a sort-of last hurrah before moving away from my college town; I also want to share where we went.

| Reflection |

Sometime during the descending trip on our first hike on the Appalachian Trail, I decided that I do, in fact, like hiking after all. The only other time that I have has the chance to hike was during my trip to South Korea in Bukhansan National Park, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from mountains in the United States.

But boy, were my expectations surpassed in spades.

The air was almost immediately fresher and cooler; it alerted my nose to the smell of Christmas evergreens even in the middle of summer. There is more green woven throughout the trees of the vertical forests of the mountains than I have seen anywhere else, and the step incline on which Reese’s car had to surmount was all at once horrifying and thrilling.

Our group with Zach and John’s parents outside their cabin.

Over the course of four days, we hiked the Appalachian Trail to Charlie’s Bunion, tubed multiple times down the rapids of Deep Creek, and hiked to Siler Bald to have a picnic and pick the flowers growing along the trail in the meadow.

Having not spent much time hiking or camping as a little girl, I always found it hard to understand when my husband would say that nature is how he connected best with God. But after this trip, I see how God’s majesty is on full display in every forest, every brook, every mountain top and every lake.

Between the everyday outings, the many pots of coffee that could be brewing at any given time in the day, and late nights playing card games or talking around a fire, I realized that I was making memories that would periodically shift back into focus in my mind as years pass and we all grow old.

| Charlie’s Bunion |

Our hiking group!

The thing about hiking is that whenever you go up, you inevitably have to come back down.

My husband says that that is his favorite part about it: there is no way to cheat or fake your way off a mountain. The only way down is to keep walking, one foot in front of the other.

My friend Kat and I at the beginning of the trail!

I, personally, do not share the affinity that he does for the return journey.

Our first hike to Charlie’s Bunion was a whopping eight miles. (click on the link to find directions to the trail and general information!)

The catch? Many of us that had never hiked there before thought it would be only four.

Luckily, I packed many snacks knowing that I have a tendency to pass out whenever I don’t eat enough for too long, and we kept on walking.

And walking,

And walking.

No amount of fatigue could disguise the fact that the view was so worth it, and unlike anything you can see via a more comfortable and less-exhausting route.

The view from Charlie’s Bunion!

After climbing on various rocks, cheating death by brisk wind and cliffside and taking pictures of each other, my friends and I headed back down to our cars.

Taking stock and hitting mud off our shoes, we decided that the only possible option for dinner would be Pizza Hut, because we couldn’t bear the idea of exerting any energy to cook.

It was the perfect day.

| Deep Creek |

I made the mistake of thinking that tubing in Florida and tubing in the mountains of North Carolina would be the same thing.

For those of you who know what tubing down river rapids is like, feel free to laugh at me!

I definitely did!

Once we all drove over to Deep Creek, we got our tubes which, much to my friend Kat’s dismay, were placed on the top of her car in such a way that would ensure that they do not fall off if you are going only 5 miles per hour. No ropes and six tubes on top of an Acura.

Luckily, it was a short trip to the river!

We went down the big part of the rapids three times on the first leg our our trip. On the first journey down the freezing, rock-filled river, I accidentally drown my friend’s disposable camera when my float inevitably filled with water.

The second go around went more smoothly, and I thought I got the hang of it.

The third go around, though, taught me the fallacy of my hubris. I don’t exactly remember how or why I ended up under my tube and being dragged face first down a tiny waterfall, but I do remember that I felt scared.

Even though I knew I would be fine from the various accounts my husband has given me about his tubing adventures as a child, it it didn’t stop the panic from setting in when my feet kept slipping over rocks and the current kept dragging me along, whether I wanted it or not.

Besides a now shredded floppy hat and a panicked memory, I decided that I like tubing down rapids more than I like lazy river tubing.

After the three go arounds, we all sat on our tubes on the shore and helped ourselves to PB&J sandwiches that a few of us had made earlier in the day and Cheerwine.

While the others went back for two more trips down the river, my friends Allie and Claire and I stayed with our stuff to soak in the sun and the relief that came with no longer being in cold water.

| Siler Bald |

Me, exciting to no longer be hiking straight up and thrilled that the hike down would be easier.

Now, this hike is only about a mile and a half.

Easy! Piece of cake!

Especially for people who hiked eight miles just a few days before.

Well, the Appalachian Trail to Siler Bald is, in fact, that short. But, it is also very, VERY steep.

So steep that many of us had to take multiple breaks on the way to the top of the meadow.

Almost to the top of the mountain!

The drive from where we were staying in Bryson City to this part of the Appalachian Trail took us about an hour car ride and right by the Nantahala Lake.

Upon seeing the lake, we immediately decided that on our trip back to town, we would need to stop by and dip our feet into the crystal-clear water.

And that is exactly what we did!

After a nice picnic on top of the meadow, we made out way back down talking about a range of topics from how and when we wanted to die, and the plot of Downton Abbey.

| Conclusion |

Calling this a conclusion sounds a little bit impersonal and stoic, like a five paragraph essay, but it feels right to me.

My take away from our trip to the mountains is that some things truly never happen again, but that is what makes them special.

Not everyone in our friend group was there, but spending this time together before going back out into our individual lives reminded me of the complexity of each individual person. We will all grow up to do and accomplish different things, to live in different places and be different people.

But I think I have learned how adult friendships will work. They won’t be like the comfort of passing the marshmallow bag around the fire and talking about our dreams. But I think they will be more like checking in with each other once in a while to see how those dreams have changed since they first began reaching for them.

Goodbyes said last Friday morning were just the beginning of many years of checking in, remember whens and see you thens.

Thank you for reading!

I really appreciate that you are here. How do you keep in touch with friends that you don’t live close to?

Let me know in the comments!

With love,

Tori ūüôā

Mi Viaje a la Cuidad de Bryson, Carolina del Norte

¬°Hola! Bienvenidos a mi blog. ¬°Estoy emocionada de conocerte! 

Voy a comenzar esta entrada por establecer dos hechos de mi vida: 

  1. Yo nunca hab√≠a gustado la naturaleza en mi ni√Īez. Esto puede ser a causa de muchas cosas; quiz√°s no sal√≠a tanta, o no encontraba a una actividad a que me gustaba. Pero queda el hecho de que el excursionismo, la acampada, la pesca ni la nataci√≥n me interesaba. 
  2. En la universidad, encontr√© a las personas que s√© ser√°n amigos para siempre, y yo estaba emocionada de tener una semana entera con ellos haciendo las cosas que no hab√≠a gustado antes. 

De repente despu√©s de que el Coronavirus entr√≥ en la escena del semestre de primavera, algunas personas en mi grupo de amigos planearon un viaje de acampamiento. 

Especialmente, yo estaba consiente de que yo pod√≠a salir a Italia para movernos a nuestro departamento nuevo. 

No pensaba que yo pudiera salir al Carolina del Norte. 

As√≠ que, cuando vino el 22 de junio y todo estaba el mismo, yo estaba emocionada de hacer galletas, empacar a mi bolsa y sentarme en el fondo del carro de mi amigo Reese para hacer el viaje de 8 horas a las monta√Īas humeantes. 

De verdad, la √ļnica cosa que no funcion√≥ era que el sitio en que hab√≠amos reservado era cerrado. La arreglamos con la idea de acampar acerca de la caba√Īa en la que estaba los padres de mis amigos Zach y John. 

Hoy, quiero reflejar en el significado del viaje como una celebraci√≥n final antes de que moverme de Gainesville; tambi√©n quiero compartir donde √≠bamos. 

Reflexión

Durante el excursionismo por la primera monta√Īa en el sendero de los Apalaches, decid√≠ que me gusta el excursionismo. El √ļnico otro tiempo en que camin√© un sendero era durante mi viaje al Corea del Sur, y no estaba segura de lo que pod√≠a esperar de las monta√Īas de los Estados Unidos. 

Pero, mis expectaciones eran superadas sin cuesti√≥n. 

El aire libre era inmediatamente m√°s fresco y fr√≠o; me se√Īalaba la presencia de hoja perenne de la navidad, incluso en el medio del verano. Hay m√°s verde tejido entre los √°rboles en los bosques verticales de las monta√Īas que he visto en cualquier otro lugar, y el pendiente profundo en que el carro de Reese necesitaba superar era al mismo tiempo horroroso y emocionante. 

Durante 4 d√≠as, caminamos el sendero de las Apalaches a ‚ÄúCharlie‚Äôs Bunion‚ÄĚ, jugamos en Deep Creek, y caminamos hacia ‚ÄúSiler Bald‚ÄĚ para tener un picnic y escoger las flores acerca del sendero. 

Dado que no yo hab√≠a pasado mucho tiempo en la naturaleza como una ni√Īa, no yo entend√≠a cuando me dec√≠a mi esposo que la naturaleza es c√≥mo √©l conecta m√°s con el Dios. Pero despu√©s de este viaje, veo c√≥mo la majestad de Dios est√° destacado en el bosque, los r√≠os y los lagos. 

Entre viajes diarias, las muchas tazas de caf√© que hab√≠amos tomado, y las noches tardes jugando tarjetas o hablando alrededor del fuego, me di cuenta de que yo estaba haciendo recuerdos que van a estar en foco peri√≥dicamente mientras los a√Īos pasen y estemos m√°s lejos en nuestras vidas. 

Charlie’s Bunion

La cosa m√°s importante en relaci√≥n con el excursionismo es que despu√©s de caminar al m√°ximo de la monta√Īa, la √ļnica manera de subirse es simplemente caminar. 

Mi esposo dice que este hecho es su cosa favorita: que no hay una manera de enga√Īar su sendero debajo de la monta√Īa. Un pie enfrente del otro. 

Personalmente, no comparto la afinidad del viaje de regresar. 

Nuestro primer camino a ‚ÄúCharlie‚Äôs Bunion‚ÄĚ era 8 miles. 

La trampa era que muchas personas en nuestro grupo pensaban que fueran 4. 

Por suerte, me traje comida sabiendo que tengo la propensi√≥n de desmayarme cuando no yo coma tanta, y caminamos. 

Y caminamos. 

Y caminamos. 

No hay una cantidad de fatiga que puede disfrazar el hecho de que la vista vale la pena, y no parece como ninguna otra cosa que puede ver a trav√©s de una ruta m√°s c√≥moda y f√°cil. 

Despu√©s de escalar rocas, enga√Īando la muerte por viento y monta√Īa y tomando fotos, mis amigos y yo fuimos debajo a nuestros carros. 

Era un d√≠a perfecto. 

Deep Creek 

Hice el error de pensar que los r√≠os en las monta√Īas del Carolina del Norte y la Florida ser√≠an los mismos. 

A ellos que saben cómo son los ríos rápidos, ¡sientan libre de reírse!

Definidamente me re√≠. 

Despu√©s de manejar a ‚ÄúDeep Creek,‚ÄĚ conseguimos nuestros tubos que, a la consternaci√≥n de mi amiga Kat, estaban sentado encima del carro en alguna manera especial en que no pod√≠an caerse a 5 miles por hora. No cuerdas, sola tubos. 

Por suerte, era un viaje corto. En el primer viaje en el rio era tan fr√≠o, y la destru√≠ sin querer la c√°mara dispensable de mi amiga.  

Despu√©s del viaje segundo, me sent√≠ como una profesional. 

El viaje tercer me ense√Ī√≥ la falacia de mi confianza. No recuerdo exactamente c√≥mo o por qu√© yo estaba debajo del agua en mi tubo mientras las olas me arrastraban en una cascada peque√Īas, pero recuerdo que me tem√≠a. 

Aunque mi esposo me dijo historias de su tiempo en los r√≠os de la Carolina del Norte en el tubo, pero el r√≠o todav√≠a me aterroric√© cuando mis pies no pod√≠an tener relajaci√≥n en una piedra y el corriente me tom√≥ m√°s y m√°s lejos. 

Aunque mi sombreo est√° destruido y tengo una memoria de miedo, decid√≠ que me gusta usar tubo en los r√°pidos de los r√≠os m√°s que en los r√≠os perezosos de la Florida. 

Despu√©s de nuestros tres viajes, sentamos en nuestros tubos para comer s√°ndwiches y beber el pop. 

Mientras los otros tomaban dos m√°s viajes en el r√≠o, mis amigos Claire, Allie y yo quedamos con nuestras cosas debajo del sol y la relajaci√≥n que vino con la experiencia de no estar en el agua fr√≠o. 

Siler Bald 

Ahora, esta excursi√≥n era solamente una milla. 

¬°F√°cil! 

Especialmente para algunas personas que caminaron 8 millas solamente unos d√≠as anteriores. 

El camino apapache a Siler Bald es, de hecho, tan corto. Pero, es muy, muy empinado. 

Tan empinado que muchas personas de muestro grupo necesitaban tomar m√ļltiples tiempos de descansar encima del prado. 

El viaje de Bryson City a esta parte del camino apapache era casi una hora por carro y nos tom√≥ al lado del lago Nantahala. 

 El momento en que lo vimos, decidimos que en el viaje debajo, necesitamos parar y poner nuestros pies en el agua. 

¬°Y esto es exactamente qu√© pas√≥! 

Despu√©s de un picnic en el prado, caminamos hablando de asuntos de c√≥mo queremos morir y la historia del programa de televisi√≥n de Downton Abbey. 

Conclusión

Para dar el t√≠tulo de conclusi√≥n de mi entrada parece tan impersonal, pero, como un ensayo de 5 p√°rrafos, pero me parece correcta. 

Mi lecci√≥n de mi viaje en las monta√Īas es que algunas cosas verdaderamente no ocurren m√°s que un tiempo, pero este hecho es que las hacen especial. 

No todos de mis amigos estaban all√≠, pero pasar este tiempo conjunto antes de que vamos adelante en nuestras vidas me record√≥ la complexidad de cada persona. Todos crecimos para ser personas diferentes, para vivir en lugares distintos. 

Pero pienso que he aprendido c√≥mo la amistad adulta funciona. No ser√° c√≥mo la comodidad de pasar una bolsa de malvavisco alrededor del fuego o hablar de nuestros sue√Īos. Pero creo que ser√° m√°s como hablar por tel√©fono algunas veces para verificar c√≥mo cambi√≥ los sue√Īos. 

Los adioses que dimos algunas semanas pasadas fue el comienzo de muchos a√Īos de hablar, recordar cu√°ndo, y hasta luego. 

¬°Gracias por leer!

Me agradezco su presencia. ¬ŅC√≥mo te mantengas en contacto con tus amigos con quienes no viven cerca?

 D√≠game en los comentarios. 

Con amor, 

Tori¬†ūüôā

2 thoughts on “My Trip to Bryson City, North Carolina/ Mi Viaje a la Cuidad de Bryson, Carolina del Norte”

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