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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

A Leap of Faith

~Friday, May 5th to Friday, May 12th, 2023~

Days 1056 to 1063

Finally…..a short blog for ya’ll. I know that’s not like me, but we’d rather not bore you with the details about lining up a few repairs on the rig and the process of looking for a home. Plus, with over 400 emails in my inbox daily, it seems to leave very little time for anything else worth writing about (we’re searching not just Asheville, NC, but ALL of North Carolina so we don’t miss anything). Things seem to be shifting a little more to a “buyer’s market” scenario. We were banking on things calming down after the craziness from a year ago, and think we’ve timed things quite well. It appears the days of overbidding and waiving inspections have disappeared for now with the many 6% and 7% mortgage interest rate buyers waiting on the sidelines. But the problem is inventory. Who wants to risk losing a 2 percent loan by moving and taking on a loan at 6 or 7 percent? We’re hoping that once the kids are out of school that we’ll see a ramp up, so we just have to stay patient. As we’ve begun the search for a new home, it begs the question of “what do we really want?” …………Is the nomadic lifestyle something we would really miss? Would we prefer the high energy and convenience of being in a city with an occasional desire to get away from it all? Or, would we prefer the opposite of having a quieter, more rural setting with an occasional visit to a bigger town or city? Having had this unique travel experience over the past 3 years, touring cities as well as immersing ourselves in more natural surroundings, it made the decision quite simple. We’d prefer the latter. With neither of us ever having grown up in a “country” setting, and the fact our last 2 homes were in a more urban location, this switch would certainly be a leap of faith, taking us out of our comfort zone a bit. So we jump….when the time and the place is right!

A lot of computer time has left our bodies craving for a good outdoor “fix” and the cardio that goes along with it. Though we had a goal of exploring more of the Pisgah National Forest that is home to our campground as well as a trip to the famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville, we just had too much background stuff to take care of in coordinating our future move. But we were able to fit in one day dedicated to hiking one of the park’s premier trails…..the Hard Times Trail.

After seeing the multitude of cars at the trailhead parking lot on our many trips into town, we finally realized what all the fuss was about. It’s absolutely gorgeous and anything but what its title indicates. I’d say it’s predominantly a biking trail. But being a Saturday, we crossed paths with quite a few hikers as well. We decided to do the entire loop trail with a total of 7.3 miles. The incline wasn’t too bad (about 1,000 feet), allowing the trail to feel gradual rather than steep which was a good thing for us not really having hiked in a while. It felt so good to get that

heart pumping again and just being one with the beautiful, tranquil forest and all that comes with that. Though having to be on leash the entire time, except for the swim portion, Sadie couldn’t get enough of the cool, fresh water from Bent Creek while fetching for sticks. I felt bad to have disturbed a swarm of butterflies enjoying the beach by the creek, though it did offer amusing entertainment for us as they flew around us. Interestingly enough, we were hiking through the oldest experimental forest

east of the Mississippi. Established in 1927, the Bent Creek Experimental Forest was established to conduct research on the management of healthy, productive and sustainable Southern Appalachian Forests. Way to go U.S. Forest Service!

About half way through our hike, we came upon the North Carolina Arboretum Gate House. We must have looked lost and thirsty when a lovely woman, a docent, offered us a map and water. We had plenty of water, but took her up on her map offering. Amongst its 450 acres, it features some of the most beautiful, botanically-diverse gardens in the country along with miles of groomed trails for cyclists and hikers alike. Even though we wouldn’t have the opportunity to tour the Arboretum on this visit, at least we got a taste of what’s in store for another time.

Winding down our day, we made one last stop at Powhatan Lake to check out the dam which now meets modern standards following its first build pre-civil war.

The lake and beach looked oh so inviting.

One of our evening highlights was getting a glimpse of firefly season. It had been a few years since our last encounter with them, and even that time was our first at Great Smoky Mountain NP. While walking the campground loop in pitch black, we thought the glow in the distance was a pair of eyes from some skunk, raccoon or bear. But as we got closer and saw the glowing objects moving about, we realized they were creatures of the friendly kind. In talking to the locals, it is a bit early in the season to be seeing them. We could just watch them any ol’ time since for us, they’re quite a novelty having never experienced them on the West Coast.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, and not being able to honor my amazing mom in person, a call and a card would have to do. But as I was addressing my mom’s mushy card, it really hit me that my mom is officially an Oregonian and not a Californian after all these years. It’s such a big deal that she is now closer to one of us and in a home that will be so much easier to manage. But what a team effort it was in achieving that goal. So proud of my mom for rising to the challenge.

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