Putting in the work

I originally wanted to start by saying “sorry this blog is waaaaay late” but you know what?? Screw it. I really really like blogging months after an event, experience, or even season for that matter.

So here’s the beginning of our summer!

We started of with a much anticipated hike we’ve had been trying to time perfectly for the past 2 years. Yeah, I know right. But whyyy? Because of Mother Nature, of course!

Our patience was rewarded with beautiful Rhododendron “peak blooms” located atop Roan Mountain, a five mile ridgeline from Roan High Knob to Carver’s Gap along the Appalachian Trail.

They only bloom once a year and the sweet spot constantly changes so it’s kinda finicky to plan ahead. Lucky for us, we didn’t have much planned for June and we ended up hiking a few days before our 5-year wedding anniversary. Perfect!

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I still remember what a gorgeous day it was but remember the vibrant blooms even more–the flame azaleas (orange flowers) were my favorite! I didn’t get much photos of the pink rhododendrons but they were pretty as well.

If you look closely below, you’ll see people hiking on the Appalachian trail just like we did.  Cool fact, on the left side is Tennessee and right side is North Carolina. 

I don’t know why it is but I love it when a trail gets tightly narrow AND when there’s flowers sprinkle along the pathway.

We even caught sight of a deer lazily grazing for a late breakfast. I was so still. And when I heard people behind me, I instinctively remember making a soft shush sound  and they immediately stopped and looked at where I had Hans pointed and enjoyed the view too.

There were also plenty of other wildflowers showing off like these yellow ones. I regret not taking a photo but I loved the tall grass swaying in the wind too. Continue reading “Putting in the work”

‘Tis the season to be thankful

Update: Our Christmas Card photo for 2020 at Crabtree Falls

 Khang and I went on a long-planned camping trip with friends towards the end of September. It was wonderful to say the least. I mention it because at that time in Virginia hints of fall were beginning to peek through.

Then in early October we snuck away for our Fourth Annual Fall Hike for Christmas card photos. Here are ones from previous years!

But honestly, our main goal was to experience the full effects of fall in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. And gosh, it did not disappoint. I’m sharing photos of that trip here.

Rewind to now and fall is in full swing in Charlotte! So it’s almost been 2 months of a glorious fall for us!

It feels like the loooooongest fall season of my life!

And it hit me…why don’t we do this every single year?? Because y’all, fall is and has always been my favorite season.

Growing up in MS only allowed maybe a full week  or two of fallish weather (or what I thought was a fall). Hah!

Excuse me while I secretly plot the same for next year (and every year thereafter).

I doubt Khang will even complain and dub it a genius idea.

I enjoy change and the change of a season is one of my favorite things about Mother Earth.

But with fall, it’s not only the change of the weather, air or trees that I love so much.

It’s the distinct reminder for all the good that has already taken place before the year comes to a close.

Unfortunately there was and continues to be a lot of bad in 2020.

And it throws me into a deeper appreciation for life and the people I love in it.

Tis’ the season to be thankful indeed.

So I thought it would be fun to include more photos than I’d usually share from this year’s annual fall hike.

As always, Khang’s patience with me while experimenting with Hans was much appreciated. I’m excited to send out our Christmas card this year. It turned out better than expected because we felt like idiots running back and forth. Well mostly just me.

I liked this spot so much that we came back  for a second round of photos after hiking Crabtree Falls.

Beautiful cascading waterfall! And a very enjoyable and slippery (from recent rainstorm) hike.

I almost broke my rule and thought about using two photos for our card with this one too but ultimately decided against it.

These were taken on our sunset hike to Hawksbill Outlook. GORGEOUS VIEWS!! I almost picked the last one for our card too.

Mainly landscape portraits of Grandfather Mountain. Like WOW! His majesty reminded me of The Grand Canyon. Like poetry.

Last photo taken with Hans and it’s of Khang overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Perhaps my favorite part of our entire trip that’s not pictured was driving with the sunroof open and taking in all the strikingly beautiful fall foliage with Khang next to me.

Le sigh. Until we meet again.

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,


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Travelwithjules: Patagonia [Day Four]

The next two days of hiking are often completed by people in ONE DAY.

That’s something I’m grateful for– being able to take our time. To have the option to wait 20 minutes for a cloud to pass or just stop to look around and take it all in.

I feel like many people rush through the “W-Trek” because of the time crunch to finish the entire route. [Pro] is you get to see more views. [Con] is are you really able to appreciate all the beauty around you?

I’m probably just jealous because we didn’t get to hike through French Valley

We had the best weather during these two last days, but with the toughest trails because of the insanely high incline.

From base to top is around 2,467 feet! I never wanted to quit, but I sure felt like taking an indefinite break. Ha.

In the picture below, you can see Camp Paine Grande, which is where we spent the night. You can imagine our view at breakfast.

Our last look before taking the ferry on Lake Pehoé again.

Views during our bus ride to Camp Torres Central.

After rearranging our things to condense what we needed into one backpack at Torres Central, we left our things there , and started our 3.5-mile hike to Camp Chileno.

Basically hiking uphill the entire time.

So this meant many many breaks.

Khang and I saw faces of fatigue on almost everyone hiking down while we hiked up. Remember that people usually hike from Torres Central to Las Torres in one day and we were doing it in two days.

I forgot to mention how Khang and I said “Hola!” to almost everyone we passed by on all five days that we were there.

Yep, we were that couple.

No matter the weather or how tired we were…if you were near us then we greeted you. Khang got fancy on me and started saying “Buenos Dias”, which means “Good morning”. We said those two phrases so much that he research on how to say “Good luck hiking today”… um yeah…I told him that was maybe trying too hard.

Talk about a valley! This was the flattest it got during the hike, which was also at the very end. My thighs were so relieved!

Camp Chileno was the only place where we camped and it was the perfect choice because it felt like we were camping in the trees.

The bathrooms weren’t very clean so we opted not to shower and went straight to bed after dinner.

I enjoyed dinner at Camp Chileno the most. We were served this deliciously fresh appetizer that I cannot forget about. You can bet to see it on “Cookingwithjules” in the near future.

It was hard because the sun doesn’t set till almost 10 pm in Patagonia. Awesome for hiking all day, but bad when you’re planning to wake up really really early the next day.

Us trying to map out our way for the hike to Las Torres. 

Thanks to Khang’s master planning–the highlight of our trip was on the last day of trekking to Las Torres.

And boy was it absolutely brilliant.

Oh gosh, I can’t wait to share with you guys. One more day. I promise it’ll be worth it.

Thanks for reading and following along,

with me


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