We just returned home from Virginia after a long weekend at our son Mark’s. He has been there for two and a half years and we were long overdue for a visit! We planned this trip several months ago and all our children planned to go. As it turned out our daughter from Tennessee didn’t get to come. We missed them! (The twins are talking now. It’s so fun to call and talk to them. I love it when they say, “Hi Grandma!”)
We had a lovely weekend. The weather was in the 70s each day and sunny. We got a little sunburn on Sunday after spending all afternoon outside. Mark’s three-bedroom home, complete with a full basement, worked perfectly to accommodate all of us. We put his newly renovated kitchen through its paces and it passed the test. It was even better after Helen and Rochelle decided to reorganize his cabinets! Even Mark was impressed with how much better it was to find things and put things away after they finished.
On Thursday evening one of Mark’s friends, Ribhav cooked for us. He is from India and is going to school at Virginia Tech. He made his mother’s curry. Rochelle made naan bread. Everything was delicious. Curry is an Indian dish that has chicken cooked with tomato sauce, onion, garlic and lots of spices. It can be very, very spicy and the heat builds as you eat it! Ribhav said he cut back on the spice a lot so it wouldn’t be too spicy for us. It was still pretty spicy! Curry is served with tzatziki sauce (a cucumber/yogurt dip), cubed potatoes and rice seasoned with the Indian spices, and naan bread. Ribhav said Rochelle’s naan bread was the best he had ever tasted! We all agreed.
Friday, we went exploring at the local antique store in Christiansburg. We found a few treasures. Then we went to Floyd for lunch and the rest of the day. We had pizza cooked in a brick oven. We enjoyed the gospel hour at the Floyd Country Store that evening and the grandchildren got to see firsthand what flat foot dancing or clogging is. We recognized several older folks from when we have visited before that are regulars. Mountain music is sweet – I think the mandolin is my favorite instrument when it comes to mountain music!
The kids were starving when we got back to Mark’s at 9:30. It was Helen to the rescue with her BLT Dip. And we all tumbled into bed tired and happy.
Saturday morning started with a big breakfast of sausage, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Rochelle made cinnamon rolls that melted in your mouth and were devoured quickly! Then it was time to prepare for hiking. We made sure we had plenty of water, snacks, hiking shoes, and light jackets. Mark said he had never been so well prepared for a hike! There were several places to choose from. We all agreed to go to the Cascades since the weather was so lovely.
The Cascades Falls is a hiking trail to a stunning waterfall that is 66 ft. high. It takes 2-3 hours to hike with an elevation gain of 663 ft. It is two miles to the falls. And you know what that means… it is also two miles back.
There are two ways to Cascades Falls; an upper trail and a lower trail. The upper trail is described as an uphill challenge. I can certainly attest to that. The lower trail is described as more of a scenic route. Both trails begin at the same place. Mark called the lower trail the fire trail and, for some reason, that trail sounded harder than the upper trail. We all took the upper trail on the way up and the lower trail on the way down.
The upper trail was pretty rough. It was slick in places from the rain in the night and there were many rocks to step over and rock stairways to climb up and over. It meandered under and over fallen trees while the mountain stream sang its merry tune on its way down the mountain. When my heart got to pumping too hard from the exertion of the hike, I stopped to rest and to take pictures of the beautiful mountain stream tumbling over rocks and trees in its haste to get down the mountain. The sound of rushing water could be heard when we got on the trail. It was loud. A slight wind was blowing through the trees and added its harmony to the sound of the rushing water.
Most of the group was out of sight quickly in their eagerness to get to the top and see the Cascades Falls. Some of us, mainly me, moved much slower! The stroller with baby Quinton was soon abandoned along the way because the trail was too narrow and there were too many rocks to climb over for it to work! I don’t know how Helen carried him and hiked, too! Rochelle helped her and Philip helped me. Naaman went back and got the stroller where we left it and took the lower trail to meet us at the bridge which was the halfway point. I declared that 1 mile of this trail was equivalent to 10 miles on the road! We made it to the halfway point, a spot where the stream seemed even more beautiful than what we had already seen, and decided we would not go any further. My legs were quivering so badly at times I thought I might fall.
After resting for 15 minutes we started back down the mountain on the lower trail. It was a breeze compared to the upper trail! If we had taken the lower trail instead of the upper trail I think I could have made it all the way to the Falls! We hadn’t gone very far before the rest of our family caught up with us on their way down the mountain. Blaine quickly found me a walking stick and that really helped. I did NOT want to fall – especially since I had fallen twice last year and had serious consequences.
It was a challenging afternoon for me physically but it was wonderful to be in the woods, feel the gentle breeze as the song suggests, and listen to the music of the water gurgling and swishing, and laughing along its merry way. There were mountain flowers and different types of moss, and flowering trees, and beautiful vistas everywhere you looked. The casserole and salad we had prepared for supper sure tasted good!
Sunday we went to church with Mark and heard a good message from I John 1:5-10. Thoughts were: God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. When we confess our sin, He is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. There’s something in us that wants to be clean. When we are clean on the inside there’s nothing like it! Today is the day to become clean!
At lunch we celebrated Bethany’s 40th birthday. We enjoyed time on Mark’s deck and played our guitars and sang later in the afternoon.
Monday morning arrived too soon and we were saying goodbye once again. Goodbyes don’t get any easier, just saying! It was a blessed time together and many wonderful memories were made!
Affirmation for today FAMILY = Father and Mother I Love You” Home – where the heart is!
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