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What a treat it is to be out of school. Forever.
In the past week I've made it my mission to win back the good favor of my dog, who suffered under the brutal dictatorship of Organic Chemistry and Microbiology. I did the best I could during the past year and half, but my dog is not pleased nor satisfied with shuffling around the block or tracing the same figure 8 through the park each afternoon. She needs a more adventurous lifestyle and so do I.
The morose professor awarded me with a 105 in his class, which felt lucky, if a bit arbitrary. He never even collected our lab manuals, meaning I could have slept in every Friday instead of enduring his meltdowns and his admonishments, but so it goes. I don't know where that grade came from and I won't be asking any time soon. The 95 I made in O Chem was fair and hard earned; may I never live to have to repeat that class.
Ever since then I've been free. Free to work, take greater care with my weekly articles, search (sometimes with a great deal of optimism, sometimes with a spinning sense of dread when I consider the looming financial difficulties) for more writing, free to pull open the windows and clean the house while the radio plays in the background (although I haven't gotten around to that yet), or explore the mountains for whole days at time without having to come home. Which is what I've mostly been up to.
Here's a photo book of our first summer explorations. (And here is a tutorial I wrote about taking photos in Western Carolina, including some of my favorite photogenic destinations & filters.)
Hometeam and I kicked things off by climbing the Art Loeb Spur trail to Black Balsam Knob. A wicked afternoon thunder storm rolled in as soon as we reached the summit.
On Saturday, David and I went up to swim at Skinny Dip Falls. If you want to visit Asheville this summer, here's my recent article about Five Top Swimming Holes in the area. It will tell you how to get there and everything you need to know.
When my friends and I ride at Bent Creek, we have time now to try the mysterious connector trails and stay late into the evening. In town, all these new places have surfaced while we weren't looking.
I have two more weeks in the Blue Ridge. Dave is going to Costa Rica with his school and the minute he gets back, we are packing up the bikes and the boats (and the dog) and heading to New England for the rest of the summer. There, between the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the shivering Atlantic up in Acadia, Maine, and all the secret swimming holes I grew up with- and somewhere in there getting a husband out of the deal- the adventures are going to go off.
(And all with close to no money. We may be getting very creative with the camp stove.)
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For Mystery Prize Monday, leave a comment telling us what or where you're exploring this summer. Exploring can really mean anything- any realm, any place, any thing, inside or outside. As always, I'll choose randomly from the comments and someone will have a surprise in their mailbox within the week. I chose this prize a few weeks back at a local craft fair; it's delicate and there's a bird involved. I almost kept it for myself, except for that I destroy delicate things and you deserve it more.
I've missed you all the in the past few months. I'm excited to see what you've been getting into.