Adventure: DC

Adventure: DC

Husband and I set off on a little adventure last weekend–nothing earth shattering, but a sweet 36 hours away from home. Above all, it is good to see family. The heartbreak of the past few months has made this even more precious to us.

Just being able to say hello in person, give a hug, laugh together, and, at times, cry together, is a balm. After our loss last fall, even DC, a mere 3.5 hours from us, seems too far away. The little ones, all 5 and under, are beautiful reminders of the hope and life that is yet to come. And quiet “adult” time is a solace.

Husband’s sister and brother-in-law are delightful people, generous to a fault, and beyond supportive. Together, we spent a treasured evening sharing tapas and paella at Jaleo, a restaurant by Jose Andres–a real treat for my food-loving Husband. I even got to try some foods I’d never had before and it was all amazing (especially the Endibias Con Queso De Cabra Y Naranjas, if you’re ever there, try it–seriously).

Tapas

We were spoiled to have a gas fireplace in the basement/guest room where we stayed…true, it wasn’t wood-burning, which is what I’ve been craving. But it was warm and the flames deliciously orange. Oh, how I’ve missed the calming solace of a good warm fire…someday we’ll have our own fireplace, someday.

Fireplace.

On Sunday, we intended to have a leisurely day with Husband’s other DC sister, but as the day went on we got more and more inspired. We first went to Great Falls Park and hiked along the top ridge of Mather Gorge. Great Falls is a little strange…only a few minutes outside of Alexandria and within a stone’s throw of Washington DC, and yet it feels like the middle of Montana…

The views of the gorge are just incredible, almost hard to believe this is the same Potomac River that runs so placidly to the Chesapeake Bay.

Great Falls on the Potomac River.

The gorge.

Resting and watching the Potomac.

Husband and I at Great Falls Park.

After a nice hike in the chilly but incredibly sunny great outdoors, we headed inside for Pho (Vietnamese soup…although I actually ended up getting lemongrass beef with vermicelli, yum!). From there we headed over to this great hole-in-the-wall Asian store where we bought beef jerky, dried mango and Thai iced tea. I would definitely recommend anyone going to the Great Falls area check out Eden Center and explore some of these wonderful Asian restaurants and shops.

Food from the Asian store.

From there we headed into DC to meet my brother near his apartment in China Town. We visited over coffee and chai at Busboys and Poets. It was a pretty happening place, with a good menu, lots of fair trade items available, and books for sale. And the apple pie was delicious! The only drawback had to be the loud music, it made our conversation a little hard to hear. In spite of that, though, we got to talk–just talk, for the first time in a long, long time.

I saw my brother back in December for the first time in over a year, did I tell you then that he lives a mere 3.5 hours from me? So, so sad that I haven’t gotten to see him much. But we made it happen, and that makes me happy.

He’s slaving away at law school, busier than ever. I’m so proud of him, and loved getting to hear him talk about what he’s doing and what he hopes to do in the future. It’s so good to be able to support someone’s dreams, to believe in them. And I do. I believe he can do anything. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being the little sister–you believe your big bros are larger than life.

In all, aside from a mild case of food poisoning (first time in my life) and a few closed bridge-tunnels on our way home (do you know how hard it can be to get to Va Beach when both the HRBT and the Monitor-Merrimac are closed? We had to take the James River Bridge…talk about taking the long way home), it was a great little getaway.

Now, if I can just get some laundry done…

Adventure: Crabtree Falls

Adventure: Crabtree Falls

There are few ways I would rather be spending a rainy Saturday. Right now I am holed up in a warm(ish), dry tent with a (mostly) dry puppy at my side, a mug of hot tea, a (purple) solo cup of wine. And I have my iPad to write on. It’s heaven.

Sure, it’s raining outside, it has been all day. It’s wet and muddy and just plain yucky. But I am dry and warm and listening to the rain kersplat on the tent roof with confidence that I will remain dry and warm. Husband is cooking hobo packs over the fire (yes, in the rain) and we couldn’t be happier.

A few days ago we learned that husband would not have to work this weekend, so we made semi-last minute plans to head for the mountains. And head for the mountains we did.

We booked a camping spot near a hike we had talked about taking for months and we headed out in the wee hours of the morning.

The Blueridge Mountains.

Four and a half hours later, we were there. In the glorious mountains. Someday we will move to these mountains, or other mountains, somewhere. We will make our living off the land, cattle, hay, horses, produce, B&B, anything.

For now, we will savor them while we are here, knowing our time is short.

There was a lull in the rain, just long enough to allow us to set up camp. Then we headed for Crabtree Falls, the tallest waterfall this side of the Mississippi.

It sounded like a great idea and I had been wanting to see it. It wasn’t until we were halfway up the climb that I realized that if these were the tallest falls, we would be hiking, vertically, for a very long time.

Crabtree Falls

The hike wasn’t difficult exactly, but definitely steep (and slick). When my heart began pumping so hard I could feel it pounding out of my chest, I knew we were in for a good workout. As I struggled to keep up with husband and puppy I was reminded of a very specific request I made to God when I was still single.

Hiking Crabtree Falls.

In college I was often the one to take the reins, plan the adventures, spur my friends on toward camping trips and hiking and snowboarding and many of the lovely things we did. But in truth, it is not in my personality to be the spark plug, to instigate others toward adventure.

I had asked God to give me a husband who would take that burden off of me. You see, it wasn’t that I wanted to give up the adventures. Quite the contrary–I was determined to continue having adventures after marriage or I wasn’t interested in being married. Specifically what I told God was that I wanted someone that I had to work to keep up with, not someone that I would have to drag around with me. Yep, God heard alright.

I was booking it to keep up with husband and puppy. Neither heat nor chill nor rain slowed us down!

Bright orange mushrooms along the trail.

I have to say though, I don’t think there’s any better way to spend a rainy afternoon than on a waterfall hike. Sure, it was wet, and slippery, and muddy. But we were laughing and chatting and getting our hearts pumping. And the view from the top was gorgeous.

View from the falls.

View from the falls.

And now we are sipping wine in our dry tent, or at least I am, while dinner cooks over the fire.

Camping.

Lovely.