On Asheville, fresh mountain air, rice cakes, and consumerism

After a few days or so of camping and hotel stays in strange small towns (where we were introduced to dry counties), we made it to Asheville, NC.  Now that I’ve been there, I definitely understand why no one has anything but great things to say about it.

While I loved the city itself, what stood out most to both of us was the surrounding nature… oh also the crazy weather, but we’ll get to that.  Of the four nights we spent in Asheville and the nearby area, only one involved sleeping in a bed.  On the stormiest of nights, we stayed in Sweet Peas Hostel, which I can honestly say was the cleanest hostel I’ve ever stayed in.  I was very impressed!  The other three nights, we camped in the Pisgah National Forest in the southern Appalachians.

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Kevin pointing out our location. Thanks, Kevin.

After spending the previous 2 weeks sweltering and melting in the southern heat, the cool mountain air was very refreshing.  One of the highlights of hanging out in the mountains was driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and checking out sweet trails and views along the way.  The Blue Ridge Parkway goes through Virginia and North Carolina for over 450 miles, and runs through the Appalachian Mountains.  It was a pretty windy drive on a narrow road with a long drop off the side… so, needless to say, Kevin did the driving.

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Looking Glass Rock overlook on the Parkway

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Don’t look down!

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Kevin being a cheerleader at the highest point on the Parkway

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Can we go back now?

We climbed to the top of the highest peak along the Parkway and when we got to the top we met some people who were banding and studying birds.  They were super nice and walked us through the process for a couple of birds.  It was pretty sweet.  We also hiked down to a beautiful waterfall called Skinny Dip Falls where we were planning on swimming.  As I mentioned before, the mountains are a lot cooler, so the water was pretty darn cold (our guess was roughly in the 30s).  Like a sane person, I decided to sit it out, but Kevin went all of the way in… he couldn’t feel his toes until later that night.

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While in the city itself, we enjoyed awkward picnics, torrential downpours, better grocery stores, cool bars, and sweet graffiti/murals.  It had been pretty difficult finding gluten free food in the south (they didn’t even know what hummus was in the grocery store we went to in Mississippi) so we ate pretty strangely.  We’ve had a lot of rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins.  I swear, if I see one more rice cake…

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I know I posted this picture before, but now I totally agree with it. I’m so over rice cakes!

When we got to Asheville we were very happy to see a Whole Foods grocery store where they actually label items as gluten free, and have better produce… and awesome chocolate!  On our one day staying in a hostel in Asheville we spent a lot of time walking around in the rain, getting cold, taking refuge from the rain, and going to bars.  Overall, it was a grand day.

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“Come play with us.”

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Hen.

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Awkward picnic #1: Seeking shelter from the rain in a slightly sketchy parking lot.

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Awkward Picnic #2: Avocados at the Nature Center.

We met some really cool people while we were in the area.  The first person that comes to mind I guess I didn’t technically meet… but she was pretty darn awesome.  I was in Urban Outfitters browsing the sale section (no I don’t want to pay $50 for a pair of pants that looks like someone angrily threw bleach at them at stabbed them with a knife…but that’s just me) when I saw a little green person.  By “little green person” I mean a child probably between the ages of 7 and 10 dressed in a lime green spandex onesie that covered her face, also wearing a baseball hat and athletic shorts.  This little green person was dancing all over the place and being generally awesome.  I saw the little green person’s dad in the store and he said to me, “I just let her do what she wants.”  Though it seems like she probably just saw something on a youtube video and decided to reenact it, I like to think that she was making a larger statement.  Probably something about consumerism (hence the choice of the green onesie) and how it’s all some sort of sick joke that the government has come up with to support itself, by using the media to brainwash us into believing that consumerism is an integral part of human existence, but when it comes down to it, all we really need to do is be ourselves without fearing the judgment of the lemmings who still buy into consumerism, and then others will eventually follow our examples and be freed from the chains of capitalism and then we’ll all like… be communists or something.  Or maybe not… I didn’t ask her.

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