Saturday, July 4, 2009
Holiday Weekend, Day 1
For the first 15 years or so of our marriage—which was comprised of 10 years of undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate school and then 6 years of working toward tenure, Dr. H. rarely took off university holidays except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Even then he only took off a couple of days rather than the allotted vacation time. (The reasoning here: he could get a huge amount of work done in his lab when no one else was around.) But about four years ago he became a tenured professor, and in the past few years he has actually started taking vacation days. I'm still not used to it, so it always comes as a surprise when he says, "So what are we going to do on my day off?"
I love it.
So our first stop on the holiday 3-day weekend was the pool. We were expecting a huge crowd, but it was strangely sparse. We spent a couple of hours there and then came home to get ready for the real holiday getaway: the mountains.
Have I ever mentioned before how much I relish living 20 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park? Hmmm, maybe once or twice. We have our favorite spots for quick afternoon hikes or river play, but we also like to find new trails—and there are hundreds of miles of those. Dr. H. got out his stack of guide books and found one that met all the requirements: water, a short drive, and a short hike. We settled on Spruce Flat Falls, and it was fantastic. (Locals, to get there: pull into Tremont's parking area. Park and take the paved road marked "employee housing" or something like that to a path that is marked "falls." The trail will turn left and climb a ridge past the water tank for Tremont. There are several signs along the way. It's a 2-mile round trip hike.)
Jesse and his two best friends went, too, and they took off as soon as we got to the falls and, of course, had to climb above the falls and do all sorts of dangerous things that we'd rather not know about. One bloody knee and an hour or so later, they returned, sweaty and tired.