Monday, March 23, 2009

Post bar trip - Day 1


Today we set out on our eagerly awaited and much needed post bar trip. We planned the trip during my preparation time and it really gave me something to look forward to. I definitely needed a vacation and Brittany deserves one for putting up with me (and my "Bar Beard" over the past 2 months). We decided to rent a cabin in the Smokeys on the side of a mountain - something neither of us had ever experienced before and after all of our hiking experience in Alaska we were definitely ready to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Another great plus is the cabin is "pet friendly" so we could bring our "kids" with us to take part in the fun!

I didn't sleep much the night before - I have been on a really bad sleep pattern so its hard to go to bed around midnight if the last 2 nights, the earliest I had gotten to bed was 3 a.m. We headed out about 6:30 and had a relatively smooth trip. Otis cried for a pretty good portion of it but he has been doing better - it is annoying when it is going on but god help him, imagine taking all of the energy of a Rat Terrier and putting him in a car for 8 hours - its amazing he didn't explode. Kohana on the other hand, just sits down and watches out the window, or just sleeps. The differences in the 2 breeds is amazing. :-)

I drove the first 5 hours and then handed the driving duties off to Britt in North Carolina somewhere right before the mountain driving started. I didn't plan it that way, but can't say I was too upset about it. We lost about an hour on the drive thanks to our GPS which took us through the national forest instead of around it like our other directions but it was a great preview of the beautiful park and definitely added to the excitement of hiking in the park tomorrow.

After fighting some really wild mountain roads we finally made it to the cabin and it is beautiful! It is 2 stories with 2 back porches that face the east and a forest and mountainside. The upper level porch has 2 comfortable chairs as well as a hot tub and just behind the living room there is a full size pool table. The bedroom is downstairs and is beautiful and also has a porch! I can't wait to spend the week here relaxing!

One "hurdle" when we arrived is we realized that Kohana has actually never been up or down a flight of stairs. She was absolutely stumped and terrified when we headed down to the bedroom and Otis followed suit - she just stood at the top of the stairs and cried. We tried as hard as we could to coax her down with calls/treats etc., but nothing was working and Otis was getting full from eating all of her treats. Finally, we realized that the only way to get her to make a run at the stairs was to walk with her and literally slowly pull her down. She finally made it down and then we had to do the same getting up. Her first attempt going down the stairs on her own was a little hairy, gravity kind of took over and her front feet really couldn't keep up - it was hard not to laugh. After a few trial runs she became an expert and then started going up at will, and most of the time for no reason - she was definitely proud of herself like she had learned a new trick.

After we got settled in we decided to head back into the park and try to catch the sunset. Unfortunately we weren't familiar with the park yet and it took longer than we had planned to find a good vantage point but I was able to take a few shots before we lost all light:


Can't wait to see what tomorrow's sunrise brings!

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