This August my husband and I traveled to South Carolina to visit with his parents. The day after we arrived in South Carolina, we all drove to North Carolina to visit additional family and participate in some family traditions and celebrations. These photos are from the first two days of the trip, not including all the lovely people I met (and Ambrose reunited with). 

As we hit the road from South Carolina to North Carolina, we stopped at a roadside stand for some freshly boiled peanuts. 

Now, I’d had “boiled peanuts” from the Saturday Market in Boise before, but these were in an entirely different league. Where the peanuts from Boise had a bit of crunch to them, these were more like beans.

See, I could smush them like a well-cooked bean in my fingers. They were also saltier than the peanuts that I’d had before, and that was a good thing. 

We were going to North Carolina, from South Carolina, so of course we went by way of Tennessee..

Ambrose at a scenic overlook in Tennessee.

Me, being more awesome at the same overlook. (That’s my wall now. Actually, no, it isn’t. It smelled like someone peed on it. But the view was great.) 

It’s hard to see in this picture, but this sign was just around a hairpin turn, and was followed immediately by another. Did I mention I discovered a new propensity for car sickness on this trip? 

The Smoky Mountains in the morning. 

A green view from the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Ambrose and his Dad on Grandfather Mountain, before the swinging bridge.

View from Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain actually provides a volunteer at this bridge who takes photos for people, which is how this picture contains me, Ambrose and his Dad all at the same time. 

Personally, I think calling the bridge a mile-high swinging bridge is a bit disingenuous – sure, the elevation is technically one mile above sea level, but it isn’t as if the drop below the bridge is anywhere near that high. 

Ambrose and I on Grandfather Mountain – after his Dad figured out how to use our camera 🙂

The USGS benchmark on Grandfather Mountain. Yes, I think this is neat. I’m a mountain geek.

The swinging bridge, with the peak of Grandfather Mountain in the background. Part of me wanted to climb to the peak, but more of me still felt too carsick. And I didn’t have my hiking boots.

I found out inside the museum that this flower is endangered. But I forgot what it’s called. 

The drive down from the swinging bridge is not for the faint of heart. 

Also not for those lacking well-maintained brakes. . .

The mountain has wildlife habitats. We didn’t get to see the deer or the big cats, but the otters did come out after a few minutes of waiting. 

I could have watched the otters play for a long time. So cute!

The eagles were also out, but not playing. They looked like we were all there on their sufferance – go ahead, tourists, take pictures – we all know who’s in charge here.

The bears were a bit more lively.

Probably because it was getting close to their feeding time. . . 

It might not have been while backpacking, but hey, a bear encounter’s a bear encounter, right? I mean, just because this bear was in an enclosure, patiently waiting to be fed while a crowd gathered doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of going on a rampage and killing all humans…

According to my tour guide (Ambrose’s Dad), the land for this road was sold on the condition that the road builders did not mess up the land. This architectural challenge resulted in sections of road like this, where columns support the road above nature’s splendor. And yes, because the road is so curvy, we were on the same road I photographed. 

We came across this sign on the way away from Grandfather Mountain.

This is the Appalachian Trail. With me standing on it. For that, as well as the friendly and hospitable people I met, I plan to come back to North Carolina. 

Ambrose on the Appalachian Trail. That section is his now. 

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