Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hike 100: Cucumber Gap Trail

My guys are doing spring break with their Boy Scout troop in the Okefenokee Swamp, and my girl is on a mission trip in Mexico during her spring break, but I at least got to get a good hike in with friends.

I'm working on the Smokies Centennial Challenge, with a goal of hiking 100 miles in the Smokies in 2016. We needed a relatively easy trail, as we had a few younger kids and uncertain moms on the hike. The Cucumber Gap Trail at Elkmont was absolutely perfect. It's one of the few trails in the Smokies that is actually flat. I don't even know how that's possible, but it is—and it follows the river the entire time, which is always a bonus with kids.

The trail is an easy—and I do mean easy—2.4 miles. We turned around at the junction and headed back. I'd like to do this trail again in early June when the rhododendrons are flowering.

My total trial miles now are 9— I have a long way to go but still 9 months ahead, and the best hiking seasons yet to come!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Wrapping up February, Full Throttle into March

I turned 50!

Here's me. I'm 50.

Fancy birthday soufflé in Louisville

So bucket list.

Randy gave me a huge, amazing birthday surprise! He whisked me off to Louisville to see Bruce Springsteen—my last giant bucket list concert! It was a spectacular weekend with a fabulous dinner, the best breakfast I've ever had, and, well, Bruce.

Black and white dance

For many years, I had a bunch of teenage girls getting ready at my house before each dance. And then for a couple of years, I had Laurel getting ready and then picked up by her boyfriend. Now… I have a bunch of boisterous teenage boys with bow ties and suspenders. And they're really fun, too.

Admittedly, picking out a bow tie isn't nearly as much fun as picking out a dress, but they sure are hilarious.

Class field trip

I managed to pull off another major class field trip. I always feel such a sense of success when one of these comes together without any major glitches! This time I arranged for my literature classes to go to Nashville to see The Crucible at Lipscomb University. You know— where my daughter just happens to go! How awesome was it that Lipscomb was the only place within a several hour radius that was putting on The Crucible this year, when we read it in both my lit classes?

The play was fantastic. All the adults were stunned at the quality of the acting; in fact, we all agreed that it was the BEST stage acting we'd ever seen. And we've seen a lot of plays in a lot of places. Astonishing.

Best of all, I got to see my girl, if only for a few hours. I hadn't seen her in about 7 weeks! How did I survive??

About half of the students who went on the trip. The rest hadn't yet arrived or were wandering around campus.

Reunited!! Haley's a senior this year and got to see Laurel and Bess, who she was in my classes with forEVER.

The best part of the trip: seeing my girl and her boyfriend.

National History Day

And today was National History Day!

 Duncan and his partner did a website together. His partner wasn't able to come to the competition, so Duncan had to do the interview by himself. We had an early interview and then had to hang out for a few hours until the awards ceremony. We walked around downtown Knoxville and ate a lot. The boys didn't win, but we had a great day anyway and the experience was fantastic. I'm hoping Duncan will enter again next year.
The opening and closing ceremonies took place at the Tennessee Theatre.

Waiting on our first meal of the day at the Creperie.

Wandering around downtown.

Back to the Tennessee Theatre for the closing ceremony after a day of hanging out downtown.

And that's about it for this month. Just one more week until spring break, and I am ready!

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