Sunday, September 5, 2010

NC- From Mountains to Beach to Festival and Home

The last ten days have given me a wider perspective of my own state and has been a perfect way to say farewell to my home turf.  From hiking through the picturesque Appalachian mountains in my alma mater town, to basking on the beach at Wrightsville, and jamming out in the woods to great local bands, I got a full dose of how much goodness there is right here in North Carolina.

A wonderful friend I connected with immediately, but breifly in Naples, Italy, decided to spend her last week of unemployed freedom with me and tour my home state.  Only meeting that one time and coming from vastly different backgrounds, it was certainly a risky move to travel all the way from Canada to this unfamiliar area and spend a full ten days with me and my friends.  The risk was well rewarded and our instincts served us well as we indulged in a week of diversity, strengthening our bond along the way.

We began the journey back in my beloved Boone.  Annelie endured Linzer land as I was sucked into nostalgic memories of this town I adore.  For the first time in years I was able to stroll the town and the campus and absorb the goodness of Boone town.  After amazing Thia food, we endulged in Kilwin's fudge and ice cream, sipped wine at Twiggs with the interesting biker crowd, and finally met up with others to danced the night away to old favorites at Flipside with not a care in the world.  The night was a spectacular tribute to happy college memories.  We managed to get a few hours of shut eye and the next morning we enjoyed an awesome breakfast at Melanie's with great friends and hit the trail for our camping adventure at Grandfather Mountain. 

All day was an uphill challenge as we hiked the Grandfather Profile, but the gorgeous view and weather kept us motivated.  After we set up camp at Attic Window we finished out the day and used the pulleys and ladders to reach the summit at almost 6000 ft.  That night we rested well proceded to embark on our decent.  Only a couple of miles in, the dynamic changed dynamically when I stumbled and badly sprained my ankle.  Our stroll down the mountain became a mission as each painful step needed to be carefully placed.  By the end, the pain was an after thought and we zoomed through the final miles.  I learned a lot about the importance of proper first aid awareness and the generosity of good people from the experience.

After 24 hours of recovery at home, we made our way to the opposite side of the state and headed to Wilmington.  Even though it was brief, I cherished the time I got to spend with my brother over a meal and a few beers.  The next day Annelie got to absorb precious beach time that is quite rare on the prairies of central Canada.  We capped the day off with a great meal at Jason's restaurant.  Before bed I finally got around to watching Donnie Darko for the first time in it's entirety and went to bed deep in thought.  We awoke early to catch sunrise on the ocean.  As the day progressed, the once peaceful sea began to churn as Hurricane Earl inched closer.  We got out of town before the highly anticipated storm approached to prepare for the main event of our packed NC tour.

The Getdown Festival was a spectacle of extreme hippy culture and local music.  We made our way to camp and dove into the festivities straight away.  As the sun set, the scene became more extreme.  The prevalent drug culture inevitable in this type of environment was striking as unsettling at first, but as the night wore on, everyone seemed to merge as the good vibes from the music transcended what ever form of inebriation the attendees were adopting.  I soaked myself in the good feeling and at the pinnacle of the night, as I spun poi in unison with the tunes, I was jolted back into reality when I stepped wrong on uneven ground with my injured ankle.  The pain was twice as extreme as the time before and I could do nothing but bury my head Audry's shoulder and hold back from screaming in pain.  This time there was no walking to follow.  A late night golf cart dumped me back at camp and I was officially immobilized.

Through the night the festival carried on in full swing.  The music jammed on into the early morning hours and people let the good times roll on well into morning.  There was no clear division between night and day.  Daylight was the only indication that we had made the transition.  I sat somewhat restlessly at camp as the morning carried on, being entertained by this extreme counter culture society I found myself immersed in.  At last I found transportation to take me to the stage where I basked in the sun for hours, enjoying the music, the perfect weather, and the loving vibes.  Late in the afternoon, with the help of many, I was moved to the official spooning location and took part in the world record breaker for longest spooning session.  It was truly a love fest as 600 people lay in a spiral formation in this grassy field to simply be together and hug.  It bonded us all and transformed the scene from here out.  Unfortunately, I could not stay to take in the goodness on account of my likely broken ankle.  Annelie and I bid our friends adieu and made our way back to the reality of the city where were indulged in milkshakes and hush puppies. 

Today I soak it all in.  I got to experience such variation of my own state and share it with someone that is completely unfamiliar with all of it.  It has been quite a perfect way to say farewell to my great state before setting off on the next leg of life in a very different location with very different people.  Spain will be my new home and I'm eager to begin this journey.  With that said, I am leaving NC feeling proud of the unique culture here I rarely took the time to appreciate.  What a week and what a way to say goodbye for now...

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