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A Break From Insanity

Our transportation away from Insanity ... WCF-0051.jpgOctober/November 2020 – When we first began our Slow Nomad travels in 2014, we estimated that we would travel as long as we had, 1) the desire to keep traveling; 2) the funds to continue; and 3) our health.

We hadn’t counted on a global pandemic.

Or the most divisive presidential election in our nation’s history. So, what we really needed was a safe escape from reality. 

Packing and prepping for two weeks away wasn’t all that different from many of our other travels, we knew what to do.

In the muntains around Hendersonville - WCF-9561.jpgRemaining healthy meant that we would want to do essentially the same things we had been doing for the past several months – wear masks, avoid any crowds, stay 6 feet away from others whenever possible, and wash hands regularly. Except in a different location. We had chosen to stay in Franklin, North Carolina where Jeannie found a cute place outside of town we rented as a home base.

View from Whiteside Mountain, a massive pluton near Highlands, NC with the highest cliffs in Eastern North America. - WCF-0006.jpgDriving straight through from our home in central Florida to Hendersonville, NC took between eight and nine hours, and once there we had a nice visit with Jeannie’s brother John and his husband Brian. From there it was only two hours to Franklin, with a brief stop in Highlands.

Over the almost-next two weeks we found numerous places to visit and hike all within reasonable distances of Franklin, itself a delightful little town. We only ate at restaurants twice (once, alone at a table on a porch, and once inside at a socially-distanced table). Take-out was an option we used, but mostly we ate at home, with food from the local Ingles grocery store.


A hike though dry leaves  … [volume up]

The roads quickly became familiar, and we were able to find our way around pretty much without error. The only real ‘problem’ we encountered was the remnants of hurricane Zeta. Heavy rains and wind kept us inside for a couple of days. Of course, Zeta was followed by a cold front that brought us a few days with highs in the low 50s F and upper 20s F at night.

Though the rains made many of the trails rather wet and the streams swollen and muddy, there were options. While waiting for the trails to dry, we took a day-trip from Franklin to Waynesville via Sylva, and returned by way of Cherokee and Bryson City, with a delightful picnic along the way.

In all, it was a great escape from politics, and the continuing heat in Florida. And while the pandemic was everywhere, being in an environment with mountains and some great hiking, it was just what we needed.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading this and especially the walking ?‍♂️ through dry leaves.

  2. Not sure that even Slovenia can compete with the scenery of North Carolina. Wonderful photos and an inspired choice of destination to escape the horrors of Covid 19 and your election.
    We imagine that perhaps some more “local” escapes are being planned – there must be plenty of possibilities.
    Best wishes,
    Janet & Paul

    1. What a nice surprise to hear from you and Janet! It was great to take a trip, though it was short and not very far to go. There is a glimmer of hope for travel maybe in 2022. We do hope to return for more walking in the UK, and will contact you if that becomes a plan.
      Stay well,
      Jeannie & Chris

  3. Really enjoyed your latest. It is a lovely time of year, whether in the USA or here in England.
    We have been viewing your Presidential Election with interest!

    1. We are looking forward to changes next year with hope for a vaccine and the new administration. For now we just hope for cooler temperatures in Florida, it’s still in the 80s!

  4. These photos touched every cell in my body. Healing beauty, picture perfect

    1. It is wonderful to feel peace and beauty with a photograph. Chris does have the eye and skill!

  5. I’m so happy for you guys that your adventures, though with less mileage, never really end, because the outdoors are infinite! I also love those crunchy leaves:) That is truly a beautiful, soulful area.

    1. Glad we could transport you with sight and sound. My brother lives in North Carolina so that provides additional motivation to travel there. Chris speaks of his memories of you so perhaps one of our trips will take us near you. Will be in touch if that is the case!

  6. Fabulous pictures as always. Have missed your travel blog. Loved the 2 sound tracks.

    1. And we have missed the travel that provides new stories for the blog. Now if we could find a way to add smell to the senses that we can record on our trips!

  7. Nice scenery. Been to Bryson City a couple times myself, it is beautiful. Played a bit of mountain golf. Thanks for the great reminder to return there in the future. Always enjoy following your posts!

    1. Happy you are traveling with us and remembering you own trips to the area. Now if we can manage to meet safely in person in the year ahead!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your account of NC. Photos were awesome as always. Thank you for the escape. We’re locked down within a radius of 5km for 6 weeks at the moment. Every escape from our v small world is so welcome!

    1. And we thoroughly enjoy the images your share via social media. The photos from your walks take us back to our stay in Killarney, meeting you and Mick. And seeing the creations of the children in your classes is so uplifting! Enjoy your local walks, stay well, and we hope to meet again!

  9. I’m so glad to hear that all is well. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a post from you. As you can imagine, my Tours of Provence and the Dordogne were canceld last summer.
    The silver lining for me was that I finally replaced my right knee which was becoming an issue, so I’ll be ready to hike the Camino and pick up with my tours whenever it’s safe to do so.
    Keep the posts coming please and be safe.
    Kaydie Vistelle

    1. From a chance encounter years ago, we connect again here through our love of France. We wish you the best recovery so you’ll be walking again when travel is possible. Perhaps we’ll get to Gainesville in the next year of so and have some time to share stories. Until then stay well.

  10. How delightful!

    Reminds us of our trip in the Appalachians ten years ago, among other things driving along (some of) the Blue Ridge Parkway and visiting Asheville and Biltmore.

    Great you managed to get away – hope it has strengthened you for the next period …

    Jette and Niels

    1. Glad to know that you’ve enjoyed this area, though I’m not surprised as you have traveled quite a bit in North Anerica. Our trip was long enough to escape the daily news and enjoy cooler weather and great hiking. We are hopeful for a return trip for spring flowers. And I’m beginning to dream of a possible trip abroad in 2022. It never hurts to be hopeful!

  11. Thank you for sharing your two week retreat into the calmness of North Carolina mountains. I have a sister that lives in Waynesville, who moved there from Florida, and visiting her is always such a delight. I believe you went at a great time of year and such wonderful colors for you to embrace in your photography

  12. It’s really great that y’all were able to get out and enjoy such beautiful scenery ?.

  13. Thank you for the lovely respite ❣

  14. Nice getaway! I have a number of relatives in that area and it is a lovely place to visit, although I rarely get on the trails when I am there.

  15. Holiday? Are you heading out to another holiday?
    Oh how wonderful to “walk” with you two again.
    The sound of the water…

  16. I think a title your hikes could be ‘Neck yoga on a hike’. Waterfalls and mushroom, one makes your head look up and the other down – very poetic. In warmer temps the waterfalls would be great to wash off some trail dust. Love your pics and captions.

  17. Fall/Autumn! Thanks for sharing!!

  18. I love the sound of crunching through the leaves.

  19. We were up there recently too. I see a picture from Standing Indian. We camped there as well as Van Hook Glade near Highlands.

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