From The Beginning - A Weekend In The Woods

Katie and I have had a penchant for travel since the very beginning of our time together. A Weekend in the Woods was our first trip.  Two short months after meeting we booked 2 nights at the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, Georgia.

Katie and I both got out of work early on a Friday afternoon in late October 2010 and drove 9 hours to Young Harris, along the switchbacks of highway 19 through the Chattahoochee National Forest. The silver Tiburon was in love with the hairpins - a reprieve from the flat gridwork streets of Gainesville. With Katie holding on to the seat and door handle the nose plunged into every corner. Speed limit was just a suggestion.  
Arrival into the exposed beam and stone lobby of Brasstown Valley was a warm and welcoming refuge from a short walk through the crisp 30 degree air at 2100'. We're not in Gainesville anymore! Good bye 70 degree nights, and AC - hello warm fire!

Overlook at Brasstown Valley Resort

This would turn out to be one of the nicer places I have had a hand in booking over the last few years, but I'll elaborate more on that later. We didn't spend a lot of time at the resort, or get to check out all of the amenities, but the morning drive to go explore revealed the amazing views that we had missed in the dark drive the night before.

We discovered the highs and lows of our relationship very quickly through this trip. The high, literally, was a visit to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, and an accompanying hike to High Shoals Falls. So much highness!

Brasstown Bald - Elev. 4784' 
The lows, again - literally, included the Tiburon being too low to cross High Shoals Creek. Apparently a bit too far upstream for the Shark to navigate. (Spanish lesson: Tiburon = shark en español) So we parked it along the side of the road up to the trail head, and walked. By the time we got to the trail head we had probably done 1.5 miles of uphill hiking along a dirt road. 

The trail to the shoals, naturally, lead back down the mountain. We made it to the waterfalls, but this point, screw them. We decided we're not hiking back up the trail so we can walk down the mountain road back to the car. No. Besides, we're smart - we can use science. If my orienteering skills were sufficient, then that meant the river coming over the falls would lead back to the same place the Tiburon couldn't cross. Katie agreed. So, we set out down the river and quickly found a trail that lead to a flat paved road back to the main road about 1/4 mile up from where we had parked. Sweeeeeet nectar, that was easy! Some real life Lewis & Clark maneuvers right there!

Katie at High Shoals Falls
Unfortunately, that literal low point of the trip (albeit high reward), wasn't the real low that was experienced. Katie and I discovered my excruciating allergy to sweaters from Katie's closet. I sneezed for 9 hours straight on the drive home and could not figure out what was causing it. The relationship was still young, but not too young to stick wads of tissues up my nose. Katie felt bad, but we had no idea that it was her sweater that had set me off until some time later.

To make matters worse, the Tiburon was a 6 speed and Katie did not feel all that comfortable learning how to drive it at that particular moment.  So we motored on, and finally got home. But, just to throw salt in the open wound, one mega sneeze hit so hard while I was unloading luggage that I doubled over and tweaked my lower back.  I've got a new low, all 52 cards in a row....  

Epilogue: The reason for extensive elaboration on my allergy sensitivities is for the reader to keep it in the back of his or her mind throughout the journey. Fortunately, I have discovered Woody Knows nasal filters. Regardless of the small plastic nose clip that looks like an unfashionable piercing, they work pretty damn well!  I will have these with me on the trip, just in case. You never know who's going to have a hell closet! Mom must have kept that house a little too clean. We told you to chill on the cleaning, didn't we Mom? That was for the development of our immune systems. Thanks WoodyKnows for rescuing me from a sanitary upbringing. Thanks Mom, for the clean house - love ya!


  1. Oh dear. I felt so sorry for you as I read about your reaction to that allergen. That must have made Kate feel bad. However, I have learned that clothing really does irritate your nose if it's kept in a closet too long. I've found different solutions for keeping things from getting that type of odor but it took a long time.


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