“I think the true adventurers are those who treat every ordinary day like the mysterious gift it is; who greet strangers with an expansive mind and an eager, helpful heart; and who aren’t necessarily fearless but who confront fears, little or large, and attempt to transcend them.” -Lavinia Spalding
One of my best friend’s Abby and I were babysitting her cousins the other day and we somehow started talking about road trips. Neither one of us really remember how this conversation got started, but as we continued to talk about a road trip, we realized that we actually really wanted to take one.
We realized that an actual road trip where you have several destinations wasn’t going to happen for us anytime soon, so we decided just to plan a trip to a certain place and call it our mini road trip. Neither one of us really had a place in mind, so we did what anyone does when they want to go somewhere: get on Instagram and look at cool places. Within minutes, we’d found the most perfect place: Asheville, North Carolina.
We began looking at dates toward the end of our Christmas break, but we soon realized that nothing was going to fit into both of our schedules during that time.
“Well hey, my last final is Tuesday. Let’s just go then,” Abby suggested. Since it was Saturday, this was going to have to be very spontaneous. I chewed on this for about uh TEN seconds before I was 100% in. What can I say, I can’t turn down an adventure.
It was surprisingly easy to get both of our parents on board. I found a cheap, yet non-sketchy hotel online and immediately began looking more into the city. I couldn’t believe this was going to happen. I’d never checked into a hotel before- but thankfully it turned out to be very easy. I’d never planned a trip to a town that I knew pretty much nothing about.
I was nervous but I was SO excited. The couple of days before we left absolutely drug by- mainly because I had to study for my last final that was on Monday- but before we knew it, it was time to head east. We checked out of our dorms for Christmas break, loaded my car down, and began the trip. We laughed, talked, drank coffee, and sang our hearts out the entire three and a half hour drive. It was absolutely perfect.
The city of Asheville itself was so unique. Neither of us had ever been, so we really didn’t know what to expect, but we jumped head first into the experience. At first, we were slightly self-conscious because we felt like the biggest tourists in the world, but we soon got over that and embraced being dorky tourists and it made everything a blast. We ate in the yummiest cafes, explored the cutest local shops, and walked the streets of downtown for literally hours. We came across an adorable double-decker bus that had been turned into a coffee shop. There was a sign that said “You must buy coffee to hang out in the bus.” So of course, we made the sacrifice of buying our second coffees of the day so we could hang out in the warm bus; which turned out to be a really good decision.
We wondered into the most adorable bookstore. I could have stayed tucked away in that corner forever, browsing books. It was so perfect. I’m pretty much a sucker for any kind of bookstore, but this one definitely has a special place in my heart.
But of course, hiking was my favorite part. A couple of the places on our list proved to be impossible to find, so we didn’t end up getting to go to every spot that I wanted to, but that was okay.
One place we did get to go to was the Botanical Gardens. Since it is December and freezing outside, all the flowers were dead, but we could tell it would be absolutely beautiful in the spring when everything was in full bloom. The trail was a big loop and it was so peaceful. Up the hill was the University of North Carolina Asheville, so we walked up there to look around (guess we can’t stay away from school after all). The campus was huge and seemed really confusing, so we didn’t stay very long. How cool would it be to have those beautiful gardens right behind your school? (Step it up, UTC. Just kidding. Kinda..).
We ended our short two day trip with the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my entire life: Max Patch. (Let me pause here and give you some advice. If you’ve never been to Max Patch, go. I’m serious. Plan your next trip here. I don’t care if you’re a hiker or not, go. You can thank me later by sending me tons of pictures so I can pretend that I went with you). We had to drive up the longest gravel road in the world and the whole time I felt like we were literally scaling the side of a mountain (which I guess we kinda were). When my car reached the parking lot and we got out to walk to the top, we realized it was snowing; not hard, but still enough to numb our faces. The mountain was a beautiful color of white and the ground was frozen solid.
The climb was straight uphill and my legs went numb about halfway to the top, but the view made everything in the world worth it.
There was nothing but endless mountains as far as the eye could see. No roads, no factories, no buildings, no towns. Nothing, just mountains. I was in total awe of the beauty that I was physically surrounded by. Nothing crossed my mind except taking in that moment. I didn’t think of the cold, the four finals I had taken the week before, or how out of breath I was from the hike, nothing expect the mountains I was standing before. I just wanted to be there forever.
In the car on the way home I almost started tearing up because we had to leave- which was weird for me because I’m not a crier at all. The trip had been nothing short of perfect. My soul was smiling. My spirit was screaming hallelujah. My bones were rejoicing. I was so happy in that moment with Taylor Swift playing in the background and the warmth of my car bringing life back to my fingers and toes. I’ll never forget it.
When I got home, as I was going through pictures I got to thinking. If God spent that much time on Max Patch, I can only imagine how flawless his Kingdom is. I get chill bumps thinking about it. I can’t wait to meet my Creator because the second that I do, I’m going to thank Him for creating Max Patch and leading me to it. I’m sure He’ll laugh, grab my hand, and tell me I haven’t seen anything as He leads me to the mountains He lives in. Oh what a day that will be.
here are a couple of pictures from my new favorite place on earth.
Also Abby is the most talented person in the world and she documented our entire trip on her phone and made it into the most precious video I’ve ever seen. I really really want you to watch and I want you to tell her what an amazing time job she did on it. (I’ve watched it probably two-hundred times and I’m still not tired of it.)
HERE IS THE LINK SWEET ANGELS.
(If for some reason this doesn’t work, the video is my on Facebook.)