Adventure Is Out There

A couple of weeks ago while on our family vacation to the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina, R.J. and I decided to take a hike…literally. We hiked 10.5 miles near Lake Logan outside of Canton, N.C. and climbed over 6,000 elevation to reach the summit of Sam Knob Mountain. Let’s keep in mind neither R.J. or I have ever hiked anything like that before in our lives and I was 20 weeks pregnant. But let me tell you, it was worth it. And we can’t wait to do it again.

R.J. and I at the beginning of what ended up being, our 7 hour hike.

You see, when R.J. first presented this idea to me, I immediately jumped on board because I had never done something like this before and I really wanted to see some beautiful waterfalls and spend a day with my husband where there was zero cell service and we were disconnected for a few hours from everyday society. At first though, it was supposed to be about a 9 mile hike and only take around 4 hours. (Again, neither him nor I have ever done this before). So, we get to our starting point, spray our dōTERRA TerraShield to repel bugs, cover ourselves in sunscreen, and we were on our way. Him, carrying a huge pack on his back with supplies in case we decided to swim, lots of water, and plenty of snacks. And me, carrying a 20 week along baby belly and using a walking stick. We were excited, eager, and motivated.

About an hour into the hike, we had already seen some beautiful waterfalls, fallen in love with the mountain views on the trail we were hiking, and getting more and more excited to climb Sam Knob Mountain. Then, about 3 hours into the hike, we finally reached the base of Sam Knob…it was climbing time. And I don’t mean like rock climbing. We were still walking a trail, that trail just happened to be very steep and did in fact, contain A LOT of very large rocks and boulders we had to maneuver over and around. After about 45 minutes of climbing, we made it to the top of Sam Knob Mountain! Over 6,000 elevation, we were out of breath, covered in sweat, exhausted, but we were proud. That view from the top of the mountain was beyond majestic. The climb was worth it.

Just one of the views from the top of Sam Knob.

We stayed up at the top for about a half hour. We took lots of pictures, ate some snacks, talked about our dreams and plans, and we admired the view. Then it was time to climb back down and finish the hike. It took us about 30 minutes to get back down to the base of Sam Knob and then we got to cross such a beautiful meadow that was placed in the valley of a bunch of surrounding mountains. To finish the hike took about 2 1/2-3 more hours…Keep in mind, the original plan was for this entire hike to take only 4 hours and we were already long past that time frame. The rest of the hike also wasn’t super easy. In fact, some parts were very difficult because a good portion of the trail was rocky and very muddy and we were both trying very hard not to fall or get hurt. There was even one point where someone had placed trail markers incorrectly to lead you off the trail and we briefly got lost in a ton of pine trees as the sun was setting. I was starting to wonder if we would make it back to the car before dark. But then we made it back to the car while the sun was still setting, safe and sound, unscathed, exhausted, and relieved.

This is what our faces looked like after finally making it back to our car.

Though the hike took much, much longer than anticipated…I loved every second of it. R.J. and I bonded so much during that hike and he was very supportive of me and encouraging every step of the way. Here’s the thing, a year ago, I was still in physical therapy 4 days a week recovering from a grade 3 concussion and couldn’t walk for 10 minutes let alone even think about doing the hike we did. But one year later, I did it. We did it. I am so beyond proud of my husband for completing this hike and I’m so thankful for him having us do it together. This was an experience neither him or I will ever forget and we can’t wait to do again. Throughout our entire lives, neither of us have ever done something like that before and yet we did it. On a whim, just the two of us…we conquered a mountain together. When we got home, we thought we didn’t hike that far because we cut our trip shorter from the original hiking trip we planned due to time. But then we realized we hiked 10.5 miles…1.5 miles longer than we planned for. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but for newbie hikers, we were proud.

A picture taken along our 10.5 mile trail of God’s beautiful creation.

On this day, we spent 7+ hours of uninterrupted bonding time between my husband and I. We talked, we laughed, we planned, we dreamed, and we conquered our goal. This day cost us zero dollars and it will forever be one of my most treasured memories. It doesn’t take much to spend time with the one you love. Now, we are back home, back to our everyday crazy schedules, and back to reality…but this day will forever hold a special place in both our hearts and we can’t wait for the next hike and our next adventure.

Written by:
Jillian Hughes
May 22nd, 2019

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