Monday, August 24, 2009

Mountain Doings

The kids and I went up to mom and dad's mountain house in North Carolina for the weekend. They were about to go back down to Florida for a few weeks, so we wanted to get some more grandparent time up there. I was thinking that I often mention our going there, but I don't blog about it much. So I wanted to show y'all some of what we get up to in the mountains.

Goldfinch Taking in the View

Bird watching requires a major time investment. My dad is the Bird Whisperer. He has these bird feeders on two corners of the deck, and he's lashed branches to the deck rails to make a comfortable bird lounge. So lounge they do. And we lounge on the deck nearby, watching the birds, discussing their habits, and speculating about their inner lives. Usually when I arrive at the house and ask, "What's going on around here?" they answer with a species of bird. Like, "Indigo buntings!" or, this weekend, "Goldfinches!" So y'all don't need to worry about whether the birds of western NC are getting enough attention. It's covered.


Mountain Road

Jeep Ridin'

Then it's time to load up the kids and go riding around the mountain in the jeep. They love this, though usually the combination of the bouncing and the fresh air puts Hank to sleep by the end.

The closest towns are Sylva and Dillsboro. They are great little places, lively and charming, but not all fancy, and not very touristy.

Downtown Sylva, NC

Mom and Laura

Hank at the Court House

I've blogged about geocaching here before, when we went to the movie location by the river, but this time we found a couple of caches that were right in downtown Sylva.

Laura Geocaching

That is my child, down on the sidewalk looking under a bench for the cache. I don't think we attracted the attention of any Muggles, but I was taking this picture from far away so nobody would think I was with her.



She found the little tiny canister stuck to the underside of the bench. It had a paper sign-in log inside, rolled up into a tiny scroll. I have been amazed at how widespread geocaching apparently is. The caches are everywhere, even in little places like Sylva, NC.

And of course, no summer weekend in the mountains would be complete without the kids getting wet in a creek. We went to an old grist mill just inside the national park.

Mingus Mill

In the summer, the mill is running, and you can go inside and see millstone turning and grinding the corn. You can buy the flour and cornmeal too.


Malevolent Scheming

The picture just above was taken at the exact moment that Hank formed the intent to throw his sister's shoe into the millrace. It's the pink blur he's holding. See the little smile on his face? It came from within, as the mischief bubbled up inside of him. Proof of his natural badness. The next instant I said, "Don't you throw Laura's shoe in there!" And his face fell, like I'd told him there would be no more Christmas. Stinker.

So that's some of what's on the agenda in the mountains. A weekend there is never long enough. But all that mountain air must have wiped me out, because I confess that today I took two naps. That is one more than Hank took. I hope y'all are feeling somewhat more energetic than I, and that you had a weekend full of good things.


Amy said...

I love the picture of Laura riding in the jeep. Such bliss! Seeing these pics makes me soooo ready for summer.

LOL about the "bird lounge". Where are the tiny lava lamps and beanbags?

Kelly said...

Two naps sounds absolutely lovely right now! I might have to try that out this afternoon! and I love that look on Hank's face...such trouble!

The Dental Maven said...

And you had stellar weather to boot! Looks great.

Michele said...

I love little towns like that. First thing I thought of was "did you see any houses I could afford?"

delaine said...

Your camera takes great pictures! That was a lovely day all the way around. One activity you forgot, was the daily collection of odd rocks from creek and roadway. Laura found a rock that was shaped like an"L". We love it when yall come to the mountain !

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Oh, so gorgeous.

I think Hank's face fell because he remembered you're a mind reader.

Casey said...

So you're saying that Hank stopped when you told him to? Graham's evil smirk would have gotten wider and he would have chucked that shoe as far as he could. Time outs are plentiful around here.

Those pics all look professional, like a Land's End catalog or something.

Rick Dakan said...

Oooh Geocaching!

I went with Brian and his 5 year old son Jack, who loved the idea but was sometimes bored in the execution.

I have this great app on my phone called geobeagle that gives you an arrow and distance to the cache down to within a couple meters. We found 2 out of 4 that we went looking for. A good time.

Sara said...

Wow, so fantastic! The only thing I saw missing was stopping somewhere for an ice cream cone?

I love that the answer to what's going on around here? is -bird species.- That says volumes about how relaxing it must be there. Priceless!

You go girl with your 2 naps!

Mental Momma said...

Gorgeous photos. Fall doesn't arrive in Phoenix until January, so thanks for a little mountain air.

The Messy Mom said...

What an amazing place. I know someone that does geocaching, but I have never seen what one looks like until now.

Keely said...

Ha! What a sneaky little smile. I've seen that one before, often, and much closer to home.

That looks like so much fun!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, looks like fun.

Kate said...

my parents have one in todd, near boone. still exploring the area. We end up hiking up and down the mtn. they live on, or biking on the railroad grade in Todd. We've done tubing on the New River as well. I just enjoy the mountain air and getting away from suburbia.