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Vacation: Part 1

My parents cabin is in the mountains of North Carolina. We have been going to their cabin every July since my brother died. In the first years it was for survival. By being together the reality of why we were there was just a little less painful, or at least the pain was shared.

11 years later the pain isn’t as sharp. Sometimes I make it through the entire day with only a few tears. We always have a wonderful time up there and this year was no different.

Their front porch is so relaxing and check out the view . . .

Those peaks in the distance are Grandfather Mountain.

Love this picture of my mom, she looks so happy.

We’ve done some really great hikes over the years. Now, with little kids we are usually on the lookout for short hikes that lead to water. Elk River Falls fit those criteria but DO NOT go on a holiday or weekend. It’s very accessible with great swimming and on the day before the 4th of July, it was crowded. It’s about a .1 mile walk in and then you drop down to the river. There are big rocks for picnicking, good little holes for swimming and even one large jump, if you are feeling brave.

This is the view from the top of Elk River Falls.

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Later that day Luke, the boys and I hiked up to where my brother died. The hike is so cool because you just dip into the woods right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you would never know it was there if you weren’t a rock climber. Then you climb huge boulders to get to the climbing spots. The boys loved this part.

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We put helmets on them and you wouldn’t believe how many times those helmets hit rock!

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Notice the climber in the background. We actually saw several climbers this year. For the first time, I got to see someone climb the route where Lewis fell, though he was repelling at the time.IMG_1300

The boys watching as I re-carve Lewis’s rock. They were very distressed that I moved this rock after reading a sign at the entrance asking people not to. I explained that I would be putting it right back. Ha!

The next day, we went to one of the many 4th of July parades that are put on in these small N.C. mountain towns. One neat thing about this particular parade is that anyone can be in it, all you have to do is show up. Maybe one year we will decorate bikes and ride in the parade. This also makes the parade very long so we left about 40 minutes in. The kids love getting the candy and necklaces thrown at them.  They were pretty scrappy this year. You really have to get in there if you want the candy, it’s like a feeding frenzy.

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They were checking everything out with their binoculars. Hilarious.

Poor dog, having to pull that pig around! This dog reminded me of our dog, Bobo who died a little after Lewis.

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Hugging the Wooly Worm

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My mom’s birthday is the 6th so we also got to celebrate her. No one gets to blow out their own candles with these two around!

Homemade peach ice cream, yes please! An ice cream maker is definitely going to be on my Christmas list!

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We had a great time remembering my brother, hiking, relaxing and just enjoying being together.

Now we are off to go camping . . . more on that next time!

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