tubing the west fork of the chattooga 08.20.14

nc hwy 28 08.19.14

pinnacle knob via the bartram trail 08.18.14

warwoman wma 08.18.14

lake russell waterfall 08.12.14

more ohio 07.30.14-08.06.14

unblind & unlonely

we were away for three days but it might as well have been the rest of my life. i could have been happy if we never came back to athens.

before we left we
-spent a lot of time kissing under the covers while everyone else was starting their monday morning work week, after we
-slept tangled up: you and me and a black cat and a grey cat, after we
-we attended the wedding of two professional basketball players whom we didn’t know, but they catered vegan food and the beers were free, after we
-packed my car down to the brim with:
essentials (camping gear, 4.5 gal water, firewood)
non-essentials (hookah, bocce balls, an audio book: rowling, jk. the prisoner of azkaban. narrated by jim dale: listening library, 2000. cd.).

i guess after all that we were driving north on day one of our mini-road trip
not to be confused with our:
1. road-trip-to-virginia-to-see-wild-ponies coming up in two weeks, or our
2. india/n field trip to atlanta (white temple-mattar paneer-braves game)

for breakfast we stopped by a one room cabin-diner with a big front porch called ‘2 cuzins’ to order:
(2) greasy biscuit sandwiches
(1) large order of cheesy grits,which came in a 36 oz styrofoam cup
(1) order tater tots
(1) small cup black coffee (for me)
all of the above cost $7 which i took as a good omen. we ate on the porch and watched hwy 441. nicholson, ga folk.

it started raining before we made it to clayton and eased when we pulled into warwoman dell. on this monday while all the other fools are working their 9-5’s, we would hike 8.2 miles on the bartram trail. we would see mushrooms of every color, including
-our favorite: stuffed puffball-in-aspic (calostoma cinnabarinum)
-andrew likes the cinnabar-red chanterelles (cantharellus cinnabarinus)
-i like crown corals (artomyces pyxidatus)

we passed waterfalls and holler-spring after holler-spring, everything was wet, vivid, mossy. i pet so many ferns. my bare feet rejoiced. the flora that i couldn’t stop talking about:
- lycopodium (digitatum), because how lucky it is for a moss to have wings
-fraser magnolia (magnolia fraseri) because those leaves are big, dude
-highbrush blueberry (vaccinium corymbosum) but no fruit

and then we summitted, legs sore, partial to avocado-bagel-sandwiches, sprawled across a massive rock-face with sad-face valleys below and sun-face north carolina mountains beyond. the wind was strong. all the laurels clinging on to the side of the mountain were so gnarled and tired. i wasn’t really tired yet, just happy to be away from ‘real life’ whatever that means. and to be with my boy, who smelled like sunscreen and looked sexy in his hiking boots.

on the way down all the critters (i.e. fauna) came out to play. we almost stepped on:

- an eastern ratsnake (pantherophis alleghaniensis)
-two copperheads (agkistrodon contortrix) (coiled up next to each other? never seen snakes keep company like that)
-a ringneck snake (diadophis punctatus) (small and take-me-home cute)
-a few eastern newts (notophthalmus viridescens), seen in their juvenile - ‘red eft’ - state
-a northern gray cheeked salamander (plethodon montanus)
-many blue-tailed skinks (cryptoblepharus egeriae) (why are you so scared?)

it was a good idea to chill a couple beers. and to buy the material for s’mores. our campsite that night was phenom (thx freecampsites.net)

a campfire just like it should be: flanneled, piney, and conducive to multiple approaches to s’more making. you always start by snapping a graham cracker in half, placing 3 blocks of hersey’s dark chocolate on one side, then:
1. toast your marshmallow separately and combine:
a) gently and evenly roast your ‘mallow on the end of the perfect stick
b) catch your mallow on fire immediately
2. place unroasted mallow on s’more, wrap whole ordeal in foil and throw in fire, turning as needed to ensure even cooking

i am a fundamentalist smore-queen and only accept method 1 as valid. andrew toiled to perfect method 2, but something always burned. i loved him anyways as he held me and we looked up at more stars than either of us had seen in ages.

day two did not have an underlying theme or big activity but between windows-down-best-mtn-range-driving, we kissed occasionally and:
-played forest floor adventure bocce over roots and up slick pine needle hills
-bought ice cream cones from a roadside creamery, cows in the pasture behind the shop (mint chocolate chip for me (once again, my fundamentalism) and raspberry truffle for andrew (no longer cautious))
-jumped off a cliff into a pool below ‘bust-your-butt falls on the cullasaja river
-i could have driven hwy 28 up and down the cullasaja river gorge eternally it was so beautiful, the freeway is literally IN the side of the mountain
-ate cheese from the aforementioned creamery sitting on top of another shoal-y falls in blue valley, cheese i sliced straight off the block one-for-you-one-for-me style with a sharp paring knife
-i wore my clay matthews jersey from child-labor-china all day, pantless, it makes for good disposable pictures duh

i was really happy/ beer bellied/ in love all day. my hair so soft from the river water. his feet all dirty. camp business as usual except i kept dumping our food on the ground.

on day three which coincidentally was the last day of our trip, we lounged around and i made scrambled eggs for breakfast, still in my jersey, still using cheese from the creamery, still happy. i missed my cats a little though.

we drove back down into georgia and pulled off beside the west fork of the chattooga river. ready to execute one of my best plans yet, the only gear necessary:
(4) trader joe’s brand lagers
(1) disposable camera
(2) deflated inner tubes

we would roadwalk-hike-bushwhack a few miles up the river, find a calm spot to put in, inflate our tubes, and call it a day. we did just about that. floating down a beautiful section of a beautiful river with him, couldn’t help the “this is unreal”s and the “livin’ the dream”s. there really are few things in life that can rival a clean mountain river all to yourself.

i didn’t want to leave but i will admit i was tired and andrew had to run away to new england. we drove home holding hands and listening to the final few chapters of our audio book, while i thought about all the times i have driven up and down 441 in the last two years, how this highway is my lifeline to the places i love and the landscapes that feel like home, how nothing feels better than driving north in the morning with a multiple day hitch ahead of you, how bittersweet that southbound drive always burns, how it’s easier when someone is holding your hand and telling you “we’ll be back soon.”

ohio 07.29-14 - 08.05.14

hiawassee, blairsville, & tray mountain 8.21.14 -8.22.14

traini kids then and now

manatee lovin’ at the columbus zoo 07.30.14

greatest ride on the face of earth

greatest ride on the face of earth

rest in peace son of beast
you are dearly missed

rest in peace son of beast
you are dearly missed

recklessfury asked: missin you so much beautiful. got your letter <3 gonna send you one soon. adventures on the rise lately :]

missin’ you for miles johnboy, you my favorite adventure pal ever


fool you with a kiss of kidsmoke.

nyc 2014

johnbabyjohn in the big city