Chasing Waterfalls Pt 1

We spent the month of October on the go. Between working and traveling, I believe we were only home and not doing anything for 2-3 days. I wouldn’t trade it though, as we had an amazing time exploring our own back yard. We kicked off the month with the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. What could be better than eating and drinking your way around the world with family? I was thankful that my grandparents came in for the week, and we had a fun time at the park.

The following weekend we visited my other grandma, who lives at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She was recovering from a recent surgery, so we enjoyed just relaxing around the house and exploring the town of Young Harris, GA. If there was any place that I would want to be in recovery from a recent surgery it would certainly be tucked away in the beautiful mountains.

A random pull-off on our way up to the park
A random pull-off on our way up to the park
The view from our car
The view from our car

We then made our way to our campsite in Cades Cove. We got extremely lucky and were able to snag a last minute cancellation in the park. It was truly perfect tent camping weather… the air was cool and dry, the evenings happily spent around a campfire. I always sleep wonderfully in a tent. I love the rustle of leaves, the sounds of crickets chirping, and the dark, deep night sky. The freezing temperatures make a perfect excuse to share a sleeping bag ;).

While in the park we did a couple of hikes around Cades Cove. I could literally spend months in the park and not see everything that I want to see. The best hike was to Abram Falls. It’s an easy to moderate hike, about 5 miles round trip (great for families). Part of what makes it so great is the proximity to Cades Cove. It’s right off the loop, and there is a parking lot with a restroom at the trail head. Cades Cove can get really congested during peak season, and it can take a few hours to complete the 11-mile loop by car. The trail head makes for a great pit stop to stretch the legs and get some fresh mountain air when your driving the loop. The actual waterfall is a nice lunch spot as there are many large rocks to set up picnic. A perfect mountain day in my opinion!

Made it to Abram Falls! Great hike.
Made it to Abram Falls! Great hike.

 

Enjoying the beautiful Cades Cove
Enjoying the beautiful Cades Cove

We spent the latter part of the month exploring the Pacific Northwest. We had a great time spitting our days between Portland and Seattle. More on that to come.

-Kaylee

 

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A Slice of Paradise

I frequently get asked by friends where my favorite place I traveled to has been. I would first like to say that this is an almost impossible question to answer. Every place is different, and every destination has special memories attached to it. Just being immersed in a new culture is an enjoyable experience for me.

However, there are a few places that I revisit time and time again in my mind and think, “Wow, that was just an incredible day.” One of those places that keep creeping up would be a tiny Greek Island named Mykonos. Well known enough to get plenty of traffic during peak season, yet not quite as touristy as the famed island of Santorini, Mykonos packs plenty of charm on its own. The island still boasts the iconic white stucco houses with bright blue trim, yet feels quaint enough to stay for a while (or forever).

We unfortunately only had one day in Mykonos and it was certainly not enough. It’s easy to fall privy to the laid back lifestyle of the locals and the pristine beaches that make you want to prop your feet up, read a good book, and never leave. It’s also easy to find some adventure of the island if you are a thrill seeker. We were lucky enough to do both.

When we arrived in Mykonos we had not a clue as to how we would spend the day. I had read in a guide book that renting an ATV is an option and when I saw those fun hills with stellar views of the Mediterranean, I know we couldn’t resist. 35 USD will get ya a full day on an ATV with a tiny map to explore at your heart’s desire. And if you lose your map, well, you’re on an Island so how lost can you truly get? Robert and I took turns driving at first but then I let him take over because 1) he might be a better driver than I (though I’m never admitting that to him) and 2) it was way more fun to be in the back taking pictures and swooning over those incredible views!

We had an amazing day riding all over, up and down hills, along the crystal blue water, past beautiful houses and  pit-stopping at amazing beaches. And, we only got stuck on a hill once. This resulted in me having to PUSH, yes push, the stupid ATV up the hill. While somewhat scared that it might come rolling back down on me and I would be one with the fishies of the sea, it gave me a great story. And, the way I look at it, if I’m gonna have to do manual labor while on vacation, it might as well be in paradise 🙂

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