June 22, 2015

The Dargatz Family Heads Home. . .

As we left the river trail after a very relaxing day, the anxiety and adventure level picked up as a volunteer naturalist stopped us in our tracks. The trail up ahead was temporarily closed as this open field adjacent to it was currently being used as a triage area. Next tot he park is the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, a mountain road that provides exquisite views of the mountains and surrounding areas. However, at times, it has blind spots, twists and turns, and obstacles that could be dangerous if not giving the road 100% attention. Unfortunately, an accident had occurred with injuries serious enough that a hospital visit was necessary. That being said, because the nearest hospital was quite a distance away, this individual was to be transferred via helicopter. Since it would be nearly impossible to land the chopper near the parkway, an ambulance transported the injured party to the large field (where we enjoyed the workings of a variety of groundhogs) at the opening of the park, within 50 yards of where we were just finishing up our hike. While this did put our adventure on a standstill and involved an unfortunate injury, it did allow us to witness an event most visitors probably don't ever get to see.

Once the scene was cleared up, we traveled up that same Blue Ridge Parkway to soak in some final scenic views as our trip was coming to an end. On our way, Embry identified and cheered on every tunnel and "bikercycle." After about a 45-minute trek up the parkway, we stopped at the Rabb Knob overlook for a final snack and view. I even took a short trek into the woods on a tranquil trail near the provided picnic table.

However, with the day fading, we knew it was time to hit the road and head for home. And while hitting the road, we almost literally hit an elk near the road connecting the parkway to the park.

We traveled one last time through Cherokee, where oddly enough an election had a person named Owle running for president of Birdtown. Embry captured the camera and took a variety of selfies. We dreaded getting back to the cabin because we knew that meant packing. But we made it back, packed up and passed out, ready for the morning trip to the Atlanta airport.

We woke up to the sound of rain. Throughout our morning, the rain went through periods of intensification, a sign I interpreted as a message to get home. Before hitting up the airport, we stopped for fuel and one final rental car cleaning.

We arrived to a gloomy Atlanta afternoon, dropped off the car, made it through the maze of the airport, boarded the plane, and rested up for the final leg of our journey. Luckily, Embry took the rest very seriously as just like our trip here, she slept from takeoff to touchdown. We arrived in Wisconsin, greeted to sunny skies and warmer temperatures.

Adios Appalachia. Sayonara Smokies. Hello Home!

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