Wednesday, October 21, 2020

2020 Mountain Trip - Days 3, 4, & 5

Continuing where we left off, here’s part two of our trip to the mountains!  If you missed the first part, you can see it here.

Friday, October 9 (Day 210 of Quarantine)

Friday morning, we woke up to rain from Hurricane Delta that was blowing in from the gulf.  We had planned to go to Anna Ruby Falls in the morning, and after a quick check of the radar, we thought we should be good to go ahead and proceed with our original plans.  We ate the rest of our store-bought donuts, got ready, and hit the road! 

The only way to get there is the scenic route through the mountains, so the roads are very hilly and winding, and we got to see thousands upon thousands of leaves in gorgeous fall colors.  Typically, when we go to the mountains, the leaves are just starting to turn, but this year, due to an early fall here in the south, a lot of the leaves were already well on their way to the reds and oranges and golds of fall.  The drive was beautiful.

We arrived at Anna Ruby Falls around 11 AM, which is a little later than we had intended, and there were a lot more people there than we had anticipated.  When we first started on the path to the falls, I was worried it was going to be too crowded, but everyone dispersed as we all fell into our own comfortable paces. 

The hike to the falls is a half a mile, and it’s all uphill, some portions being pretty steep, but it’s a really easy hike since it’s paved, and it’s a gorgeous one, too.  A lot of the leaves had already started changing there as well, and many of them were floating down like snowflakes in the breeze, so it was very picturesque.  I’d love to be able to go during fall peak one year, because I’m sure it’s just stunning. 

We observed the waterfalls for a bit, and then had a very enjoyable walk back down, and then we stopped in the gift shop on the way out to let each of the kids grab a small souvenir.  The gift shop only allowed six people inside at a time and masks were required, so everything was very safe.  Jacob picked out a stuffed wolf and Olivia chose a stuffed deer, and I grabbed a picture frame for our travel gallery wall, and we were on our way!

Anna Ruby Falls is just outside of Helen, GA, and any other year, we would have just driven to Helen to have lunch, but because of the pandemic, we are being extra careful, so we opted not to go to Helen.  Helen is very small and very crowded, especially in October since they celebrate Oktoberfest, so we knew it probably wouldn’t be the best idea. 

Instead, we had brought along some sandwiches, chips, and fruit, and we stopped at one of the picnic grounds on the mountain to have lunch.  The rain held off, the air was cool and crisp, and it was a fall wonderland out there… the absolute PERFECT day and place for our first family picnic ever.  Can y’all believe that?!  Our family has never gone on a picnic before.  We have, of course, eaten outside countless times at restaurants and on our back porch, but we’d never had an actual picnic together prior to this trip. 

After our picnic, our original plan was to go gem grubbing.  We go to the same place every year in Cleveland, GA, which isn’t too far from Anna Ruby Falls and Helen.  We made the drive over only to discover that they are closed indefinitely due to Covid.  Womp womp. 

Fortunately, there are gem grubbing places all over in North Georgia, and we were able to find another one just outside of Helen.  This one was indoors, however, and they put a few random gemstones in each big bucket with sand, which makes them super easy to find, so it all felt very contrived.  The place where we normally go, they give you a huge bucket filled with rocks and sand, and you have to sift through all of the rocks to find the gemstones.  It’s a lot harder to do it that way, so it takes longer, but it feels way more authentic.

The kids didn’t seem to mind, but they flew through their buckets super fast, and then wanted to do another bucket.  Haha.  We decided to let them each get an additional bucket, and Jacob chose to do a bucket of fossils instead of gemstones.  He enjoyed that even more than the gemstones, so I have a feeling he’s going to want to go back to this same place from now on since our original place doesn’t offer the fossil buckets. 

Once the kids had depleted their second buckets, we loaded up in the car to make the long drive back to the house.  On the way home, we stopped at an overlook at one of the highest peaks of the mountains to snap a couple of pictures, and it was cold and windy!

On the way into town, we stopped by Ingles to pick up a frozen pizza for Saturday night so we wouldn’t have to leave the house, and we couldn’t believe how many people were blatantly disobeying the mask mandate.  There were people everywhere in there without any masks in sight. 

After we left Ingles, we swung by Zaxby’s to pick up dinner for the evening.  I’m telling y’all, the food options around Blueridge aren’t ideal when you can’t dine-in.  Haha.

After dinner, we spent the rest of the evening out in the back yard.  The rain continued to hold off, so B built a fire and we made s’mores.  Just as we were heading in for the night, the rain from Hurricane Delta started to come down, and it pretty much didn’t stop for the rest of our trip… all of our outdoor activities were well-timed!!

That evening, I meditated and tidied up while the kids got their showers, and then we all piled on the big couches in the basement to watch Pets United on Netflix.  The kids liked it, but B and I were not impressed with that one at all… it’s basically a cheap knockoff of Secret Life of Pets, minus a plot, and minus the loveable characters.  Don’t waste your time with that one.  Lol.

After the kids were in the bed, B and I watched some more of Schitt’s Creek and then we called it a night, too.

Saturday, October 10 (Day 211 of Quarantine)

Saturday, we had planned to stay at the house all day, and that was a good thing since it rained most of the day.  We ate cereal that we had brought along for the trip, we watched ESPN College GameDay, and I got in a dance workout while B and the kids tried to fish in the creek behind the house.  Spoiler alert, they didn’t catch anything.  Haha.  B knew they probably wouldn’t, but the kids (especially Olivia) were dying to try, so he took them out there during one of the short breaks in the rain.  Just being out there with their fishing poles seemed to satisfy them even though there were no fish, so we called it a win!

For lunch, we made some sandwiches and the rest of the mini corndogs, and then we watched the Florida vs. Texas A&M game down in the basement while the kids played pool.  During the game, we started on the 500 piece puzzle that was in the games cabinet, and we ended up getting the whole thing done just as the Georgia vs. Tennessee game started.  We are notorious for starting big puzzles on our mountain trips and never finishing them, so we shocked ourselves, actually completing one, for once. 

We all took another outdoor break to stretch our legs just before the Georgia game started, and then we settled in with some beers while we watched.  

We had brought along our Roku, so we were watching our local CBS station back home for the game, when our local news cut in for a tornado alert.  The worst of Hurricane Delta was hitting back home and causing some tornadoes in our area, so we had to watch the game via split-screen for nearly two hours so the meteorologists could keep everyone informed.

One of the tornadoes was in the same area of town as our neighborhood, so I started feeling very anxious.  My brother and sister-in-law who always monitor tornado activity (my brother used to watch the movie Twister over and over and over when he was little and has always been obsessed with them), were messaging back and forth with me and my parents and other brother to keep us informed, and eventually everything passed without incident.  Whew!

At halftime, I popped the frozen pizza in the oven and prepared all of the sides while B texted my mother-in-law to ask her to put on Maui’s Georgia jersey for us.  We were losing at halftime, and we needed to turn things around, so it was Maui’s good luck jersey to the rescue!  Lol.  #ItsNotWeirdIfItWorks  She sent us these pictures of her and it made me miss her soooo much!

We ended up winning the game, and then after that game, we watched Alabama vs. Ole Miss… what a crazy game that was!  It was basically a college football all day kind of day, and we enjoyed every single second of it!

Sunday, October 11 (Day 212 of Quarantine)

Sunday morning, we had cereal at the house, got ready, packed up the car, and hit the road as early as we could.  We swung by Starbucks on the way to grab a latte for me and cake pops for the kids, and the next several hours were spent driving in the pouring rain and fog.

Oh my word, the weather could not have been much worse on the way home, and I was a nervous wreck the whole time.  Fortunately, we made it home safely just in time for a late-ish lunch, and the rest of the day was spent unpacking, putting everything away, washing clothes, and getting caught up on all the things.  We phoned it in for dinner and got Mexican from our favorite place, and just like that, our long mountain weekend was over!

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

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  1. It really sounds like you had an amazing and relaxing trip.

    1. We did! It was definitely relaxing this year since we didn't do as much because of Covid.

  2. Sounds like you had a fabulous time! Those mountain shots are just so beautiful. :)

  3. Love seeing the kids sitting on the porch. Those Falls look amazing!

  4. I want to head off to the mountains so bad after seeing your trip! I literally checked flights while y'all were there.

  5. Look at you guys being so adventurous and outdoorsy!! Your picnic looked so fun! xo, Biana BlovedBoston

  6. It sounds like such a fun trip. We like to take picnics when we do National Parks and such! So the Chiefs lost one game this season so far and it was the game that none of us were able to watch. So I think we need to be watching for us to win - kind of like Maui and the jersey!

  7. Your trip sounded wonderful! From the s’mores to the puzzles to the buckets of gemstones and fossils, I’d be in heaven if I were tagging along with you guys...maybe I can get an invite next year 🤣

  8. I am glad you all had an awesome time.

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  10. Sounds like a fun trip, despite the weather! We just went for a short weekend to the mountains and it was so nice to get away :)

    1. It really was! We knew going in that the hurricane would be hitting late in our trip, so we did all of the outdoor activities in the first two days to make sure we squeezed them all in before the rain. I'm glad y'all get to get away, too!

  11. Now I'm totally craving s'mores! And love the gemstones and of course that view! <3

    Green Fashionista

  12. I love those days when the rain holds off and it turns out being perfect. There are waterfalls like this in PA that we like going to visit. We didn't get a chance to make the trip this year but hopefully we can plan for next.

  13. It looks such a perfect trip, thanks for sharing it.


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