Week 32 – Bryson City, NC to Columbia, SC

Day 218 – Bryson City

Sunday started with a cold, crisp morning, so we bundled up and walked a few short blocks to the main street through downtown Bryson City. We visited a few shops and got an up-close look at the Great Smoky Mountain Railway train that was preparing to leave the station. On the way back to the hotel, we grabbed a to-go lunch so we could fuel up for an afternoon hike. The weather was much warmer by then, so we had a very pleasant hike on the Deep Creek trail, just inside the boundaries of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We saw several nice waterfalls and took in some nice views of the surrounding mountains.

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Week 31 – Charlottesville to Bryson City

Day 211 – Charlottesville to Christiansburg

We started off with another cold morning on Sunday, so we bundled up and packed up the van for a relatively long drive. Along the way, we stopped at Natural Bridge, a historic geologic landmark once owned by Thomas Jefferson. After a nice hike and lunch, we continued on to our destination, Christiansburg.
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Week 30 – Clifton to Charlottesville

Day 204 – Clifton

It was odd waking up to the sound of children Sunday morning after spending the night at Tracey’s brother TJ’s house. The boys were in a playful mood as we drank our coffee and said our goodbyes. We made the drive into the heart of Washington D.C. to visit Michael’s coworker Rachel and her family at her house. After two years working with his current employer, this was the first time meeting a coworker in person. We ate an excellent breakfast casserole and enjoyed showing off our van to her three-year old son. Afterwards, we headed back to Tracey’s parents house for dinner and a fun game of Train Dominoes.

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Week 29 – Cape May to Clifton, VA

Day 197 – Cape May to Rehobeth Beach

Our plan for Sunday was to take our first ferry ride of the trip, taking the boat from Cape May to Lewes, Delaware. The ride was a little rough, as the weather had turned bad again overnight. We survived the hour-and-a-half journey without getting too seasick, but the rain got worse and worse as the afternoon went on. We stopped at an outlet mall to get out of the wet for a bit, then we had no choice but to go back out into the weather to our final destination for the day, Delaware Seashore State Campground.

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Week 28 – Mahanoy City to Cape May

Day 190 – Mahanoy City to Allentown

Sunday morning started off sunny and warm, so Michael walked around town taking pictures of some interesting buildings while Tracey went to see her grandmother in the nursing home. Then it was time to get back on the road. We drove a couple of miles out of the way to see the old St. Nicholas coal breaker, at one time one of the largest in the world and currently in the process of being torn down. Next, we drove through Pottsville so Michael could see the infamous Yuengling Brewery, the oldest brewery in the country.

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Week 27 – Plymouth to Mahanoy City, PA

Day 183 – Plymouth

One of the things we’ve enjoyed most about the trip is exploring historical sites, so it was a real treat Sunday morning to visit Plymouth, MA, one of the first European settlements in the United States. First we had to visit Plymouth Rock, then we planned to check out the replica of the Mayflower ship, but unfortunately, it was in for repairs. Next we walked around the historic town center, and up to the top of Burial Hill, where some of the original Pilgrims were buried in the late 1600s.

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Week 25 – Acadia National Park to Neversink, NY

Day 169 – Acadia

We woke up Sunday morning to blue skies, a perfect day to explore more of Acadia National Park. We started with a steep but relatively short hike up the southeast ridge trail of Pemetic Mountain, then down the northwest ridge to complete the loop through The Bubbles and down the west side of Jordan Pond.

After the hikes, we returned to the campground for a late lunch and a little rest. Then we got cleaned up for an evening in Bar Harbor, where we explored the town and had a nice seafood dinner.

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Week 24 – Baxter State Park to Acadia National Park

Day 162 – Baxter State Park 

Our original plan for Sunday was to hike to the summit of Maine’s tallest peak, Katahdin. Unfortunately, we had a few issues. Only one trail to the summit was within our comfort zone and we didn’t realize that reservations for a parking spot were required (which we likely wouldn’t have gotten anyway as non-residents). Also, after a really tough hike just seven days ago, neither of us was fully ready for another big climb.

So instead, we ended up doing 2 shorter hikes to waterfalls along the final stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The first hike took us to Katahdin Stream Falls, and while the second led to the Little and Big Niagra Falls.

On our way back to the campground, we ate a late lunch on the shore of Togue Pond just outside the park. Then, we headed back to enjoy the views of Millinocket Lake from our campsite on the shore. Around dinner, another Westy pulled into the campground, owned by a really great guy from NH who was going to be summiting Katahdin the next day.

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Week 23 – Mt. Washington to Baxter State Park, Maine

Day 155 – Mt. Washington

Sunday was a big day, as we took on probably the toughest hike we’ve ever done, climbing Mount Washington in New Hampshire. We had to pack up the van drive about ten miles to the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trailhead.  We were greeted in the parking lot with a positive sign, another Westy (complete with “WESTY” license plates just like our old ones)!
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