We’ve been living in Raleigh, North Carolina since 2005, and we haven’t taken a trip to the mountains in over seven years. It’s not that we didn’t care to visit the high country. We were actually excited about the idea of exploring Asheville, Mt. Mitchell, and the Blue Ridge Parkway before we even made the move to Raleigh. We just never made it out west until the weekend before last Christmas.
We woke up at 4AM and headed out at about 6AM so that we could have a full first day in the mountains. Our Jeep Liberty is a little small for 2 humans and five dogs, but it has never let us down and we always manage to be comfortable by packing light, and filling every nook and cranny in the vehicle that doesn’t hold a person or a dog. We drove through Boone, NC, Linville Falls, NC and stopped in Hot Springs, NC. It is absolutely beautiful out there. Our dream is to buy land somewhere at a high elevation, build a home for ourselves to live in, and then build cabins that can provide us with income as rentals. The recent news of the return of Sasha’s cancer means that she probably will not realize this dream with us, but I know that she would be so happy living in the mountains. I imagine looking out onto our land and seeing Sasha with her nose pointed toward the sky, taking in all the scents carried on the mountain breezes. She would love the cooler climate. Our whole pack would love it out there. It would be heaven for all of us.
Anyway, here are some pictures from our first trip:
Oh, what wouldn’t I give to be there now?! So peaceful. So gorgeous. That is where my family belongs.
Several days after we heard the bad news of Sasha’s cancer relapse, I scheduled an appointment to have photos taken with our whole gang. Carlos takes beautiful photos, but he doesn’t make it into them very often. I sometimes attempt taking pictures, and some are OK, but I do not know how to take advantage of all of the manual controls on the camera, and I don’t feel I have an artistic eye. So, I needed the help of a professional to capture us all.
For an hour and a half, Tara, from Inbetween the Blinks Photography, snapped pictures of all five dogs (and us humans) at Horseshoe Farm Park. Taking pictures of pets requires patience, and even more so when taking pictures of five dogs! She also wrote a very nice blog post, that she titled quite appropriately, “Sasha – The Leader of Her Pack” where you can see the photos. Take a look and see for yourself the great job she did. We are very happy with the results. Thank you, Tara!
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that Sasha and Tommy celebrated their birthdays recently. Sasha turned 13 on October 24th – an awesome milestone! And Tommy turned 6 on June 22nd. What you don’t know – because we have been busy, and lazy – is that the rest of gang also celebrated their birthdays recently.
Alli turned 11 years old on Tuesday, November 19th. Shelby turned 8 on Saturday, December 6th, and Argus joined Sasha as a wise 13 year old
I baked a cake for each special day, and we all had fun celebrating. The dogs all LOVED their cakes! Take a look:
Now that we have entered a new year, I wonder what happened to the old one. Don’t get me wrong, 2012 had some long days, weeks, and months for me what with being unemployed and searching endlessly for a job, Sasha’s cancer diagnosis, and other things that I won’t bore you with, but now that all of that has come and gone, 2012 might have been the shortest year of my life. Before that, it was 2011, and before that 2010. As the crow’s feet grow at the corners of my eyes, each year feels shorter than the last. And the length of the departing year seems to be completely independent of the length of the days contained within. Difficult and trying times slow only the minutes, hours, and days in the years, but not the years themselves. Ok, enough blah blah blah. 2012 also had many good times, and it ended well!
Carlos and I and the whole pack spent the last two weekends of 2012 in the mountains of Western North Carolina. The trip to the mountains from our home takes about four hours, which is about three and a half hours too long as far as the dogs are concerned. Our “dog vehicle” is small for all five dogs, but we pack light, the dogs are awesome travelers, and the Jeep is paid off. I cannot tell you how good it feels to no longer have car payments!! We stop along the way to let the dogs do their business and stretch their legs. We also find places where they can run around and have fun in the cold mountain air. We were lucky enough to see snow both weekends which was great, because all the dogs love the white stuff! Sasha especially enjoys the colder weather. Her whole demeanor changes when the mercury drops, and she had a wonderful time walking, running, and hiking in the mountains. We were even lucky enough to find hotels both weekends that allowed us to stay with all the dogs!
I can’t wait to go back to the mountains! Actually, Carlos and I have been discussing the possibility of making a life for ourselves in the mountains. We’d be mountain folk! We think we’d be happy living out in the mountains, far from the congested roads of the cities, and enjoying life at a slower pace. Our mountain dreams are a topic for another post, but I think now is a good time to revisit the goals that I set out for myself at the beginning of last year:
Post on the blog 2-3 times a week. Out of the 137 posts, 12 are from 2011. This means, in 2012, there were 125 posts which equals to ~10 posts per month. It’s less than what my goal was, but I’m still happy with that number. In 2013, my goal is to post 2, maybe 3 times per week. And I hope Carlos will also write more posts like his “Pitbulls and DNA Tests”.
Walk our dogs. Even though we did OK on this one, and our dogs do get a lot of exercise in our yard, I love the idea of walking them and going to parks (like Umstead State Park ). So this year, in addition to keeping up with the “at least 3 days a week, once a day” walks, I want to make sure that we have an outing during the weekend as well as taking Sasha and Tommy swimming a couple of times a month.
Focus the blog. Initially, my goal was to write about pretty much everything – our dogs, home projects, hikes w/our dogs, and my fitness journey. I have written mainly about our dogs. More specifically, I have written primarily about our journey with Sasha’s bone cancer. So, I’d like to continue on the path that I started, and maintain the focus of the blog mostly on our dogs and other things dog related. I’m sure Carlos and I will still write a post here and there about things that have nothing to do with dogs, but for the most part, Lili’s Notes will be about our four legged best friends.
Volunteer/Help Animals. A while ago, I volunteered to transport dogs to either a foster home or their forever home. For a little while, Carlos and I volunteered with the Coalition to Unchain dogs. It’s a great organization that helps owners who cannot afford to fence their yard, by providing them with a free fence so that their dog/s can live an untethered life. This year, Carlos and I have a few ideas of things we would like to do to help animals. Once we decide which things/projects, I’ll be sure to share them here. Stay tuned!
Image found on Peace of the Beach Facebook page.
There could be no simple, easy love.
Image found on Facebook.
Wishing everyone, a wonderfully happy and prosperous New Year!