Well, we made it out of the wildnerness and have returned to mostly normal – though my brain is still in the mountains, I think. It was pretty much all I thought it would be, especially concerning the anniversary celebration and reconnecting with my wife. I had no idea how remote our cabin would be. There is no way to tell that really from the photos we got to see before we left. We were about a mile off the main road – half a mile in, then half a mile down. The drive in and out was a bit scary if you weren’t the driver. Once down, we were greeted with the following:

Cabin - first view

The cabin was really quaint and a bit rustic. It would be our home away for the week and we did really get used to it, though we never got quite used to sharing things with all the critters who felt right at home there too!

Cabin - closeup

We awoke each morning and had tea on the back deck overlooking the woods approaching the river below. During morning meditation outside the sound of the river was like a life-sized personal water fountain. The sound was constant as the river flowed around the bend that our cabin sat on. During the week we had plenty of occassion to laugh – really hard. One actually came while sitting zazen one morning. I had spied a squirrel coming up from the river and had an unfocused eye on him during his climb up toward the cabin. I wondered what would happen if he got to close and how likely that was since we were so silent and still. After a few minutes i hear and see him hop up on the deck from underneath about 2 feet from Holly. I instantly made a “shewww” sound to get him to go away, which scared the hell out of Holly and got a good laugh from us both. We decided that would conclude morning zazen!

After a couple days plundering in Asheville, I noticed a small trail leading to the river and decided to go down and check it out. Despite the appalachian custom of tossing unwanted items in rivers and criks, it was really beautiful.

The river

The river

We were treated to spectacular views like these as we drove around in the mountains. A surprising amount of people live on sides of the mountains and actually have views like this from decks:

Mountain view

The most fun we had was on unplanned days and during accidents in travel. One day in particular involved getting lost somewhere in the Pisgah mountains and using all my land navigation training to figure out where we were and the best general direction to head in.

This adventure did, however, give me one of the funniest things I may have ever seen. While enjoying the local views and riding in the passenger side during one of Holly’s legs I spied an interesting site on the front porch of this house. We were on a road that was bordered by a creek of about 15 foot width. I had been seeing mailboxes on wires that led back to houses, apparently to retrieve the box once mail had been delivered. This house, to my surprise, had no driveway and no bridge over the creek that would allow someone to go from road to house. What it did have, however, was a wire system connected to what I can only call a fair type ride car. Yep. You get in this little car and ferry yourself from your porch to the road – and back. I tried like mad to get Holly to turn around so we could get a picture, but she would not. After hearing my complete description, she wished she had. It was a thing of beauty really! I can only tell you it was there.

The other site that we were warned about when we picked up our cabin keys was the appalachian habit of just tossing stuff over into creeks, especially cars. We thought this was maybe an exaggeration until we spotted one in the creek that runs down past our cabin to the river. Not an exaggeration:

Car in Crik

We were a happy couple and it was a great time…well worth the money and the time. See? Happy couple:

Happy Couple

I do have to leave you with just one more photo from our return to pick up the girls in Johnson City. I give you Pal’s (not the best burgers, but surely the best building in the business):


Pal’s has been around since 1956. It is drive-thru only. Get it and get the hell out!