Thanks for the memories...

I love camping. And this weekend was about as perfect a weekend as anyone could find to spend in the mountains of NC. The weather was unbelievable (I have never seen the sky so blue, not even out west), the leaves were just beginning to change, and the company was grand!

Nate and I headed up to NC this weekend so I could wish my beloved appalachia goodbye. I move in less than three weeks (God...three weeks) to the great Pacific Northwest and had to give credit and pay homage one last time to the place that has saved my sanity on so many occasions while I've lived down south. We did a lot while we were maxxing 'n relaxing, but the greatest stories are two that demonstrate extremes in humanity. Prepare to play my and Nate's favourite game: Crush the Stereotype! (wild applause and cheering inserted here)

Story One: Firewood Makes the Best Friends

Nate and I drove five hours on Saturday from N. Myrtle Beach (we hung out with PK at the condo Friday night-gorgeous and a great time) to Canton NC. Sunburst campground, our home for the weekend, is about 10 miles outside of Canton heading into Pisgah National Forest, off 276 between Waynesville and the parkway for those who know the area. I had called the campground to let them know we were running a bit late bc we hadn't been able to find anyone selling firewood. Finally, I pulled into a tiny convenience store off 215 to ask if they knew of any kind-hearted sellers of wood. My friend behind the counter called in a favour and Nate and I headed off down the road to seek our firewood fortune.

Well, after only a few minutes but several turns on roads with names like Possum Ridge Drive and Pollywood Farms Road (names have not been changed) we found ourselves dealing with three men of the mountains. It was impossible for me to understand what was being said at first, but as I acclimated to the accent, I realised that we had stumbled on gold. What, on the outside, was a rather shady situation turned out to be one of the best memories of the trip. Bruce, a very large man who throws wood for a living, not only gave us an enormous amount of firewood, but wasn't satisfied with the wood he had on hand and insisted that he go get some better stock to give to us. While he drove away to do that, Nate and I chatted with Nick, an incredibly friendly and unusually hospitable man who, after promptly offering us beers, proceeded to have a great conversation with Nate about bow-hunting and then we all discussed the local scene. After Bruce returned, I tried to give him $10, insisting that this was not enough and would return with more, however he not only refused the offer, but pushed $5 change back into my hands, insisting that we return if we needed anything at all.

The beatiful point of this story is that these men, if stereotyped as they easily could have been, did not look like the kind, hospitable people that they were. However, they were among the kindest people I have ever met, anywhere and anytime. That coincidental meeting has already established itself as one of my fondest memories of my times in that beloved area.


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