Tag Archives: challenge

Summer Adventures! 4.0

Summer Adventures! 4.0

This is my fourth year with my local parks and rec dept, working for a program called Challenge. We have kayaked, canoed, fished, hiked, rappelled, climbed, slacklined and zip-lined. It’s such a fun summer job!
But something I’m even MoRE excited about is my upcoming, very first art camp! I can’t wait to get started but it’s not for another two weeks. There is still plenty I have to do to get ready but I will start sharing pictures as soon as I can!
For now, here’s what I’ve been up to…














Lounging at Lake Jocassee


My last week of Challenge was probably my favorite. We went to Lake Jocassee and camped at Devils Fork State Park for two nights. Despite a nasty storm on our first night there, it was a great trip and a beautiful place.

Maybe it was because we were there during the week (Wednesday – Friday) but there was very little boat/jet ski traffic. The park has campsites and villas. Our campsites were waterfront and had easy access to put our boats in. We had sites 10, 14, and 15 I think. There were 3, right together. Also, I came home from this trip feeling the cleanest all summer because of the nice bath houses with showers, woohoo! 😜

So, the best thing about Lake Jocassee is that it’s a clear water lake. The water was pretty warm and it was so nice to just hang out and swim and paddle.

One day we went to Whitesides Mtn and hiked. That was an easy hike with beautiful views. It was in Cashiers in NC, I believe. After our hike, we stopped at an ice cream shop in town called Sweet Treats to get cooled off.

It took us about 4 hours to get there but it’s totally worth the drive. I’m already planning another trip to take my family!

The view from our site.

My hammock. I slept like I haven’t slept in WEEKS because of the water lapping at the edge of the lake at night. *heaven*

One of the views from Whitesides Mtn.

No Creeping on the VA Creeper Trail!!!


Another week on the job took me to Damascus, VA. We were originally supposed to go bike part of the New River Trail but because of some mix ups with camping reservations, we ended up at Damascus. I am perfectly happy in Damascus. It’s one of my favorite little adventure towns. They are obviously big on the biking with the Creeper Trail rolling right through town, but they also have climbing, hiking, camping, and fishing. The Appalachian Trail also crosses through Damascus at a couple different spots and it’s home of the Trail Days festival.

I love Mt. Rogers Outfitters – I bought a great AT shirt there this time. I also love Sundog Outfitters, which is where we rent our bikes and use their shuttle service. There’s MoJoe’s coffee shop right next door to that. They have delicious coffee, frappes, and smoothies, as well as homemade baked goods. I had a blueberry muffin and an iced mocha latte this time. YUM. Right down from Sundog is a place called Cowboys. It’s a gas station, I think, plus restaurant. They have delicious tater wedges if you’re in the market for that kind of thing.

One of the best cheeseburgers and/or milkshakes I’ve ever had also came from Damascus. It was after our AT trip last year when we did the Grayson Highlands section and finished in Damascus. I think it’s called Off the Beaten Path and the ice cream shop is separate from the cheeseburger place but the buildings are super close. I was so hungry, I honestly wasn’t paying much attention to anything beyond the food going into my pie hole. I had a black cherry milkshake and a cheeseburger all the way. I can taste it now. Hmmm… Totally worth the 4 hour drive to town. 🙂

So anyway, something new I got to see this time was Backbone Rock. How cool is that?! And people were climbing and rappelling on it! I hope we can make a longer trip of it next time and do the climbing as well as the biking. This was my fifth time biking the White Top to Dam. section. I love it! I love to go fast. I love it when I take my time. I love when it’s hot or cool, Fall or Summer. It’s always beautiful and well-kept and I would love for it to be in my own backyard. Check it out.

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Three Days on the AT


New adventure of the week:
Hiking three days on the Appalachian Trail. We took a group of 14 to hike from Roan Mtn to 19E – a road that the AT crosses. I think it was around 15 miles or so.
Last year, we hiked the Greyson Highlands. Something new for this year, for me, was that I left my tent at home. The day before I left for the trail, I went to REI and bought the ENO hammock shelter system. I loved it!
We stayed at Overmountain Shelter the first night and I was pretty chilly after a front moved in with some rain and much colder air. But I didn’t have to sleep on the floor with the mice and chipmunks so I was happy!
We camped at Doll Flats the second night and despite heavy rains and crazy winds, I still stayed dry and warm(thanks to some borrowed longjohn pants.) I might just be a hammock convert but I’ll need to spend a few more nights out in it before I decide for sure.
I loved how easy the set up went with the Atlas straps as well as the guardian bug net and the pro fly.
We saw some African Angora goats on Jane Bald. I was totally amazed by the beauty of Little Hump and Big Hump Mtns. And I got to see the Asa Gray Lily! It was really one of the most scenic trips I’ve ever been on. Amazing experience overall.
Check out some pictures!