I had a hazy idea of the outline for the weekend as we headed out from Raleigh at about 8:30 AM. Kenny did all of the planning for this trip and kept most of the details under wrap as he had deemed it “Kristen’s Super Secret Surprise Birthday Weekend.” The plan was to head straight to Catawba Falls for a shorter hike and then finish making our way over to Asheville. We momentarily considered riding the motorcycle or towing it behind the Cobalt (“Sheila”), but there was a lot of riding ahead and rain in the forecast. It was probably a good choice since Sheila had a hard enough time braving the country roads and long distances without towing a whole bunch of extra wait. I was also afraid of how bruised my fanny would get after our Nags Head summer adventure <insert link> last year. Instead, Kenny exclaimed “I wish we were on the bike” every time we passed a motorcycle for the next three days.
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash0.jpg "Asheville") A few hours into the car ride we started seeing a bunch of billboards for Little Switzerland so we decided to check it out. It was about 30 minutes out of the way, but it was a really neat little town with amazing views and a good place to grab lunch. The town itself was really small – (apparently only 47 people!) but the scenery was magical. Although Kenny says it was nothing like real Switzerland.
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash1.jpg "Little Switzerland")
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs right into Little Switzerland. We’ve now added it to our list of future adventures to go back on the bike and ride the parkway – “I wish we were on the bike.”
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash2.jpg "View of the Road") The trailhead for Catawba falls is right off I40 at exit 73. The road basically turns right into a gravel parking lot. It was a flat and easy going 2 miles of trails up to the Lower Falls and we made it in about an hour.
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash3.jpg "Kenny's hiking Shenanigans") We were totally unprepared for getting in the water, but it was hot and there was another group of adventuresome hikers getting and I didn’t want to miss out. The water was freezing but we both ended up getting in (I went first, just for the record).
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash4.jpg "Swimming at Catawba Falls") There was a smaller path that kept going up to the upper falls. It was much rougher going with occasional patches that were supported with climbing rope. We took a wrong turn and hung to the right which resulted in a dead end, a bleeding hand, and a rather treacherous way down that left the back of my shorts caked in dirt. I ended up stripping down to my skivvies while Kenny washed my shorts in the stream. On the way down we saw the correct way to go, which was to hang to the left and cross over the Falls. Lessons learned for when we go back. Once we were back at the car it was another hour and a half or so until we got to our cabin for the night in Luck, VA. Kenny picked the cabin as a surprise. It was 45 minutes or so to the North of Asheville and deep into the country of North Carolina. The drive was full of interesting scenery like old barns, neat tiny churches, and rolling mountains.
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash5.jpg "On the way to the Air B and B")
Our last adventure for the night was to head to Asheville for dinner and some light exploring. We walked around downtown for quite a while looking for somewhere that stood out to eat. There were a lot of trendy restaurants but all were pretty expensive. We ended up settling on a Cajun place called Mayfeld’s with really delicious seafood but we paid more than we would have liked.
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash6.jpg "Asheville Art") Afterward we head to the drum circle on Patten Street which was super unique and interesting. It was a big mix of people all playing their own drums to one loud beat. There were a bunch of people dancing and another girl hula hooping. Everybody was having a good time and just out there to enjoy life and have a good time. It was a really neat experience, the closest thing we could think of to compare it to was a tribal dance.
![blogPics](/static/img/asheville/ash7.jpg "Drum Circle")