March 8 - 9, 2021
November of 2020 is when the plan to visit Brevard, NC began to unfold. After receiving the first ever Wander With Outdoor grant from Wander North GA and Outdoor Journal Tour, we gained greater exposure, expanded our reach and the universe aligned us in some of the most amazing spaces. Thanks for seeing us Wander North GA & Outdoor Journal Tour.
As a result of the increased exposure, we formed a relationship with MJ, the Marketing & Communication Specialist of Transylvania County Tourism, explorebrevard.com. After countless emails, texts, zoom meetings, and phone calls, we launched a collaboration that has forever changed us all.
MJ and I tossed around several ideas, dates, and agendas, and settled on one that would bring Ch8sing Waterfalls to Brevard, NC for a shared social media takeover.
During MJ and my conversations, I learned she was friends with Rachel who is a representative of Merrell. The three of us began coordinating an event where we would test out their new Moab 2 hikers while in Brevard. Rachel, MJ and I, planned to incorporate all three of our initiatives into one spectacular weekend. Rachel introduced us to Lindsey, another Merrell rep, who would accompany us that weekend, and afford us the opportunity to trial the hikers.
A caravan of nine vehicles, and twenty-three adventurers drove from Georgia to North Carolina. Two adventurers met us in Brevard. The weather forecast was unfavorable for a five mile hike, so we pivoted and set out on a shorter hike to DuPont State Forest. It was here we enjoyed Triple and High Falls. Of course we captured an insane amount of pictures and videos.
Our hike took us to High Falls first then down to Triple Falls. Mother nature sprinkled us with a little liquid sunshine along most of our hike, though we were not deterred at all. We dawned our parkas, umbrella hat, and continued to embr8ce the ch8se.
We met a cool group of adventurers while at the second level of Triple Falls. We met a new friend Daniel, who was so much fun. Daniel Turcios and Emily Estes were with their group of friends enjoying the amazing space as well. I later learned that her friends Courtney and Marvin got engaged that same day shortly after we saw them. Congrats again, you two.
After descending the stairs of Triple Falls, and capturing more memories, we made our way back up the trail to the base of High Falls. All of the waterfalls at DuPont are amazing. The base of High Falls allows you to get close enough to feel the mist off of the waterfall. It is here where once again, Rhonda and I found ourselves drenched and in awe of the beauty of High Falls.
We make our way back to the top of the trail and proceed to return to our vehicles. We discover that several adventurers set out to explore the covered bridge trail. By now Mother nature has been kind to us and only gave us a few small sprinkles. At the covered bridge, we take amazing selfies, beautiful pics and fantastic videos. While there, another adventurer offered to grab a group shot for us. I think her name was Amy. Below are the three shots she captured. The moment and the vibe was just right. The directions were face Amy everyone, hands up, then turn around, and raise your right fist. The moment was amazing, and so epic. You would have to be there to truly appreciate it all.
Just as we were preparing to hike back to our vehicles, Mother nature tired of holding back the rain, let us have it. It poured so hard, that everything most of us had was wet. It was probably the longest part of the hike. Take a three hour drive, a two hour hike, add pouring rain at the end, and know we were done.
Dinner was really great. We got to spend some quality time with the owner of Ktchn, Bruce Stewart. He spoke of the
history of Ktchn and welcomed us to his space. Ya'll the fried green tomatoes are soo good. I look forward to enjoying them whenever I return to Brevard. When you visit Ktchn, tell Bruce the Ch8sing Waterfalls gang said hi.
After dinner we stopped into DDBullwinkel's and got the chance to meet Padden and do a a little shopping. The spot is pretty neat. We each were able to get our collectors items, our patches, pins, and other area memorabilia, and of course snap some pics.
Prior to arriving in Brevard, we were looking into staying overnight at Foggy Bottom Cabins; however, our party wouldn't fit. Nevertheless, the magic of social media connected us with Khaled, the owner of Foggy Bottom Cabins. He and his wife are beautiful people, and we got to witness their goodness first hand.
Khaled contacted us, and wanted to be a blessing to one of our ch8sers who serve in the healthcare community. He explained how he has the ability to give back by gifting a healthcare professional a stay in one of their cabins. Khaled has worked as support staff in hospitals so he gets it. He respects the dedication of each healthcare worker; so he and his wife chose pay respect their respect by giving back in a very kind and generous way. Considering the present state we are all in, identifying healthcare workers as essential staff, and angels in their field, his heart compelled him to serve and share. Khaled's initial conversation was that we share similar synergies, and he knew that he wanted to support ch8sing waterfalls and our ch8sers this way.
During our initial conversation, I knew without a doubt who this gift recipient would be. The person came to mind immediately when he said healthcare worker. She has served as a Registered Nurse for forty-one years. She is my Sista Soulja, my tried and true, my make it do what it do. She has very easily ch8sed forty-one of the forty-three ch8ses to date. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, wherever there is a ch8se is where she will go. Though she is an amazing RN, everybody knows she does not work on weekends. In other words, don't go tripping, falling, or sliding down the rock and need medical attention. Don't come to the trail without your emergency medicine, cause she is off duty. In honor of her being absolutely phenomenal, a healthcare worker, and an avid ch8ser, our one and only, Auntie Lynn, Berlenthia Jones, was gifted a complimentary stay at Foggy Bottom Cabins. Ya'll she was so surprised. The love on her face and the look in her eyes are forever etched in my memory. Khaled, you blessed us all with this gift to our Auntie Lynn.
At this point we were all full, both emotionally and physically. The day had been amazing, and we still had Sunday to look forward to.
Now unfortunately Lindsey, our Merrell rep was unable to join us; however, we now know that even with her not being able to make it, the universe was working in our favor. Everything worked out just as it was supposed to.
Though we didn't get to trial the Merrell hikers this weekend, we had a great experience and look forward to testing the Merrell's at the next ch8se.
After dinner we retired to our rooms. The invite to join me in 221 was open to all.
We had three bags of goodies to dive into, thanks to MJ and Transylvania County Tourism. There were so many awesome goodies in the bags, and plenty for us all. Listen, there is not a whole lot I can share with you about the party in room 221; not a lot. I do know that we are each grateful that we were all on the same floor, and that we didn't get asked to leave. Trust me, you simply had to be there. The phrase, "but why" has taken on an whole new meaning. It has its own story, and holds its own belly laughing memories. No one can deny that Auntie Lynn had the best seat in the house. Tee is a whole, fun situation. We now know that Rhonda hears in surround sound, and knows how to clear a room.
MJ, the gift bags were perfect. Paula, thanks for being an awesome server. I love how you travel. And that is it; that is all I can and will safely share. Just know that room 221 is ch8se herstory confidential. You really had to be there to appreciate the level of fun shenanigans that night.
Yes, we all made it up and out on time to meet MJ in the hotel lot Sunday. She cam loaded with Brevard swag prior to our hike. We all showed our appreciation, switched up our outfits, and mixed it up with our Brevard and Ch8sing Waterfalls swag. We looked good and was representing both very well.
Our first stop was at the beautiful Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest, then we turned around and made our way to Daniel Ridge Loop. Looking Glass Falls is one of best roadside gems I have seen and enjoyed. She is absolutely spectacular. The closer you get to her, the more you appreciate and feel her power. She did not make us work hard at all to enjoy her beauty.
After visiting Looking Glass Falls, we make our way to Daniel Ridge Loop. It is here where we meet Padden, our trail guide who works at DDBullwinkel's in Brevard, NC. Padden was the perfect trail guide. He was very patient and extremely helpful. Though he hikes the trail often, I am positive he had never experienced it the way he did with us Sunday, April 17, 2021. Oh the stories he is sure to tell.
The trail was five miles of mixed terrain, varying elevation led by the stream and small waterfalls along the way. The trail ushered us through lush areas, amazing landscape and natural beauty. Some ch8sers found themselves tackling one of the more challenging trails they had ever encountered. The five mile trail which is doable to some in two and a half hours stretched to over a four hour hike. Of course we stopped to hydrate, fuel and take countless selfies and pictures. This helped extend our trail time as well as the challenge it presented to some.
Along the trail, we encountered some extreme mountain bikers who provided a great pause during the hike. There were both women and men bikers. They even had their dogs running in front and behind them. The bikers were impressive, bold and/or crazy, yet entertaining.
Padden and I reversed our intended roles at one point and instead of leading we held down the rear and supported two of our phenomenal ladies who had not embr8ced the ch8se in a long time, nor had they embr8ced such a challenging trail. We paused and persevered. We knew that quitting was not an option, and that we were our only ways back to our vehicles. It was challenging, and even more so for someone who hadn't hiked in a long time. The great news is we all pushed pass the pain and grabbed our victory at the base of the waterfall.
Daniel Ridge Falls, you tried us, but we did it. We made it. You need to know that I am the most proud of my friend Dynamo Donna and our friend Rosalind. These two ladies are the epitome of determination. I salute their willpower. Again, congratulations SiStars, you did that!!!
By the time we reach the waterfall at the end of the trail, several of the ch8sers went ahead of us and left early to get back home. We were all so exhausted that we didn't have our normal reflection time to share our experience or express how we chose to embr8ce the ch8se together. Nevertheless, the time spent with those ch8sers who left before I could wish them safe travels remain priceless. I look forward to embr8cing the ch8se with them again soon.
Lunch is calling us and MJ took the lead. She guided us to Oskar Blues, a brewery and burger spot. We placed our order, and at two separate outdoor tables, sat underneath the cool breeze of a beautiful afternoon. We spoke of the days adventures as well as the entire weekend. We enjoyed spending more time with Padden. Ya'll he is a really nice guy, and a great trail guide. When you stop into DDBullwinkel's tell him we said hi.
This blog, these words, do no real justice to how full my heart is after such an amazing weekend filled with firsts. The hardest part of sharing this with you is attempting to re-create the energy, the vibe and the magic of the day. In this very moment, I realized that somethings are simply impossible and must be lived out loud to appreciate.
So as much as I tried, my best effort still proves insufficient to express the magic of this weekend. I am beyond amazed at the beautiful people the universe has placed in my life. I am humbled and forever blessed for this journey with each of them at my side and many having my back.
Before I end this lengthy blog, allow me a few more moments to respect and appreciate the husbands, the men, the strong presence that have chosen to embr8ce the ch8se with us. Richie is my biggest supporter and loudest cheerleader. Though he may not hit the trails with me, he helps me be me so that I can lead the ch8se embr8ce. Without him, there would not be a Ch8sing Waterfalls.
Mr. Tim and Mr. Griff have been hanging in there supporting and assisting us for quite a few ch8ses now. For all that you two bring, thank you. Thank you for choosing to support your wives along this process, and for supporting my efforts. I appreciate you and am thankful you embr8ce the ch8se with us. There were times when you were not with us that I sure wished you were. Though the intent is to foster healing for women, there is space for our men as well. This Brevard ch8se, we were pleased to welcome two first time male ch8sers. We welcomed two couples, the husbands Sasha and Brett are likely to be repeat ch8sers. I saw them embr8cing the ch8se, and enjoying themselves. Brittney sadly for Sasha we didn't find Bigfoot. That just means you two have to join us again so Sasha can continue his search.
Listen, we are out here finding our healing, our peace, and our place, both women and men. Together we are forging diversity outdoors, changing the narrative, increasing the brown faces in our beautiful green spaces.
I encourage you to stay tuned for more goodness as we continue Ch8sing Waterfalls, one adventure at a time.
Peace & Waterfalls Family