Saturday, July 25, 2009

Did you ever see the beauty of the hills of Carolina, or the sweetness of the grass in Tennessee...

First person to name that song gets lots of high-fives from me.

Today was perhaps the best day in Tennessee. And North Carolina, for that matter.

We knew today was going to be super-hot, and we didn't really have much productive to do today, so we had an adventure. We wanted to find a swimming hole. Being from SoCal, swimming in rivers is a relatively new phenomenon to us. I think I've gone swimming in a river once with Maggie in NorCal... we have both been white water rafting once... we've gone swimming in lakes... but in LA, the concept of "river" doesn't really exist. The "LA River" is a concrete basin which is usually empty, and sometimes has a slight trickle down the bottom.

So we took our lovely apartment-mate Michiko and headed out to the Great Smoky Mountains. First stop: Sonic. I'd heard a lot about Sonic, especially from bloggers who live in the region, but none of us had been. It was pretty good. I liked the limeade. Not as good as InNOut, but you know.. nothing is.

Then we headed up into the 'mountains'. The trip up had so many cute little houses with rocking chairs and horses and Southern Charm. The mountains are really not that big, but they are so gorgeous. So many rivers and streams, tons of cool hiking paths with beautiful tree cover. In the park we saw so many white water rafters and horseback riders, so we can't wait to go back and try those.

We parked in a very crowded lot and hiked a mile and a half up Big Creek Trail to Midnight Hole. It was fun to see that there were so many people up at the top... kids everywhere and families just hanging out and swimming and relaxing. The hole was pretty large, maybe 15 feet across, with a waterfall coming in. It was surrounded by big rocks (maybe 10-12 feet high) that everyone was jumping off of.

It was a hard process getting in the lake. The rocks were very slippery, and the water was numbingly cold at first. At one point, Scott was in up to his knees, and turned around to see Michiko and I standing on separate rocks, completely avoiding the water. But we girls slowly crept in, and of course Scott headed right to the top of the rocks. Eventually he got both of us to jump in too, and it was amazing! The water felt so refreshing.

The day was just so beautiful! I love living out here, where we can drive an hour away and be in such a beautiful place. One thing that I didn't like about San Diego was that it was harder to get to beautiful mountain areas. If you drive north, you just hit city after city. If you drive east, you're in the desert. If you drive south, you're in Mexico. And if you drive west, you fall in the ocean. Which is beautiful, but salty. There are some pretty areas, but nothing close like this.

It was so nice to be out and smell nature and hear silence. The temperature was perfect, the swimming hole was perfect, and the company was perfect. So fantastic! I love living in Knoxville!

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