Because we are masochists, we decided despite the terrible low-hanging dark gray clouds that greeted us Saturday morning to try for a hike anyway.
We drove up to the Road to Nowhere, a spot inside the park where a highway was meant to be built and just... wasn't. It dead-ends at this tunnel, which leads out onto a series of trails maintained on the other side. We weren't the only brave souls out that day, although everyone else we saw was either extremely dedicated joggers or serious hikers with backpacks the side of their own torsos. They did not speak to us. They were Serious Hikers and had their Serious Hiker Faces on.
The tunnel was spooky, full of dirt and horse tracks and graffiti. We walked through it with our voices echoing, and I thought to myself (and, uh, said out loud to Jason because I rarely keep thoughts to myself) that I could really see why so many horror movies have tunnel scenes. It really is spooky to be walking, just the three of us, in near total darkness.
It was spitting rain the whole time, but we figured if spitting was all it was going to do, that's not such a big deal, right?
We made it out the other side of the tunnel and about half a mile down a trail when the skies just opened right up on top of us. I mean, we went from spitting to absolutely drenched in a couple of minutes. There wasn't any good place to hunker down under a leafy tree for shelter or anything, and the dog and I were both 100% done as soon as we were soaked through. We turned and went back for the tunnel.
Look at that dog's sad little face. I don't think he's ever been rained on like that before. He kept looking back at us while we ran back for the tunnel like we could magically fix the wet, and we couldn't, and I felt like the worst owner ever. Seriously, Indy, I would have turned the rain off if I could...
I tripped on absolutely nothing inside the tunnel (stupid center of gravity) and took a wee bit of a tumble. Like, I had that horrible thing happen where you trip, and you start to fall forwards, but you kind of catch yourself and then you don't catch yourself at all and down you go and if we hadn't been in near-darkness it would have been terribly embarrassing. I had a delightful impact; first my left knee made contact, then my hands, and then of course the left side of my stomach and all parts of me went sliding along the ground. I ended up coated from collarbone to ankle in gritty tunnel-dirt.
At least I hope it was dirt.
After some frantic texts to my friend Sarah to be assured that having 10% of my fall be on my stomach meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of pregnancy - and her calling me just to make sure I wasn't just sitting in the car freaking out (spoiler alert; I totally was. secondary spoiler alert: NEVER ASK GOOGLE THESE THINGS), we declared an end to our Hiking Adventure and decided to go back to the cabin and figure out what to do with my clothing. At this point, I was actually just wearing dirt with strips of cotton mixed in, so it seemed like a good time to get clean.
I ended up only having to throw out my orange hoodie up there, which is like a decade old and the zipper broke something like seven years ago so it's not like it hadn't earned it 10$ Walmart price tag. God speed, little hooded sweatshirt. May you enjoy your afterlife in that great Walmart in the sky.
Jason was able to hand-wash and save my jeans and T-shirt, and since these are one of my two pairs of maternity jeans (and therefore 1/2 my clothing uniform right now), that's a good thing. Because I WOULD go out and buy more maternity jeans. And he knew it.
We left the dog to pass out on the couch after making sure he was dry and warm and went down into town to find some lunch.
This was seriously Sandwich Weekend, you guys.
I am not a sandwich eater, really; I rarely choose them or actually want to eat sandwiches in any way, shape, or form. This is a sad, sad turn of events for Jason, since he loves sandwiches and would happily choose them all the time. Like a crazy person.
This weekend, for whatever reason, I could not stop eating all the sandwiches. I had at least one sandwich every single day of our vacation.
On our way up, when we stopped in Cashiers, I had a smoked-salmon, cream cheese, and capers hot panini sandwich at Buck's Coffee Cafe that was amazing. That sandwich you're looking at up there came from the Filling Station, a neat little 50's-style place in Bryson City, decorated with all kinds of classic car memorabilia. It's chicken salad with tomato and lettuce and it was good. Jason had half a BLT with a cup of chili that was also awesome - I know this because I stole some.
I'm allowed to steal his food. Pretty sure that's in the wedding vows somewhere.
There was a shop called Wild Fern downtown that we had walked past Friday after our arrival, and I had seen a basket in their window. "How much do you think that basket is?" I asked Jason, pretending it was an idle question.
Jason, who was not fooled, gave me a suspicious look. "I don't know," He said. I continued to look at it.
"What if it was 60 dollars?" I asked, innocently enough.
"Then I would say it's probably too much," Jason replied. His suspicions clearly were deepening.
"What about... forty dollars?"
"... well, we could check and find out."
"No, I don't want to go in there today." Jason's mouth opened hung there, confused at my intense interest in something I wanted, and yet my unwillingness to actually go in and get it. Despite it being right there. And the store being open. "If it's less than $40, though, I think I'm going to get it. You know. When we come back by here tomorrow." Jason's mouth closed. One must not question insane women, after all. Especially not insane women all hopped up on hormones.
Well, on Saturday we went back into Wild Fern, a little art studio and store that supports local artists and sells their work. I pretended I wasn't there for anything specific, but you can guess how long it took me to pull the little basket out of its window display to check the price. If you guessed approximately thirty seconds, you win a cookie.
I pulled out the little tag on the inside and looked.
Full of excitement, I marched the basket over to Jason and showed him. I was triumphant. I had won the game of prices, and I would not conceal my victory. "Twenty six," I announced. His shoulders did not slump in defeat, exactly, but he knew I was taking that basket home.
I bought a necklace as well, a pretty pendant made out of recycled wood and piano keys. This is when Jason had his revenge.
"Happy Mother's Day," He said, not-quite-loudly, as the debit card was swiped. Which led the shop owner to ask me about that, and I had to acknowledge it, and there were congratulations and a discussion of how far along I was and did I know what it would be and what her name was and it was generally an uncomfortable several minutes for me - as I am still deeply unsettled by random people talking about the Wee Baby Faulk. I suppose I have to get used to it eventually.
I'm thinking somewhere around the time the Wee Baby Faulk makes her appearance.
That's when I'll get used to being pregnant and having people know about it.
Anyway, the basket.
It's a very nice basket. I fully intend to make it the first of a collection.
And, despite my fall and the rain, it was a pretty nice Saturday, too.
There was napping, after all.
Any Saturday with that much napping has to be at least a little nice.