We spent the 2002 Christmas holidays with my family in North Carolina. My parents were in the process of building their house at the time, so we were crammed into the tiny little two bedroom house that they were renting. That didn't ruin our Christmas spirit. This page contains vignettes of our trip and a lot of photos instead of a comprehensive story.
On Christmas Eve, my dad bought a Christmas tree from a store where my uncle Gary works. We decorated it together. Most of the ornaments that we used were made by my brother Scott, me, or other family members. A lot of the others were bought for fundraisers that my brother or I participated it. There are a few other ornaments as well. The result is a tree that looks very homey and that is rich in tradition. Christmas for me is about family and a celebration of Christ's birth, so this tree is appropriate for that spirit.
Once we finished decorating the tree, we took a few family pictures. Some were serious; some were goofy.
Nanny and Grandaddy's house
Family tradition placed us at Nanny and Grandaddy's house the night of Christmas Eve. (Nanny and Grandaddy are my grandparents on my dad's side.) We took some time out to read the Christmas story from the Bible and remind ourselves the true reason for the Christmas holidy, and then we spent some time in prayer. This time never fails to move me. After our devotional time, we partook of a wonderful meal that consisted of many dishes. Once supper was finished, we opened gifts. I took some time to take pictures of the family, particularly Austin, my second cousin.
On Christmas day, we again followed tradition. After opening gifts from Mom and Dad at the rented house, we drove to Mamaw's house. (Mamaw is my grandmother on my mom's side.) We had a huge meal prepared by the best cooks in the family, and then we exchanged our Christmas gifts. I again took the time to takes some pictures, this time of Seth and Sam.
Gorges State Park hiking
For me, no trip to North Carolina is complete without a hiking trip. Crystal, Stewart, Mom, and I decided to hike the Horsepasture River Trail to look at the waterfalls. When we got there, we discovered that the old trailhead was marked with signs saying it was illegal to park there. Rather than go home, we drove back up the road a little way to the fairly new Gorges State Park. We hiked the [trail name] to [waterfall name]. The hike was a nice one through beautiful woods, but the view of the waterfall was a bit disappointing. The viewing platform was some distance away. We still had fun though. Mom and Crystal did a bit of dancing on the platform, and we paused for a group picture in front of the waterfall.
Western North Carolina has dozens and dozens of waterfalls. Crystal, Dad, Stewart, and I took an afternoon drive to see several of the waterfalls. First, we stopped beside the road to get a view of Cullasaja [sp?] falls.
Next, we stopped at Dry Falls. We walked the short trail to Dry Falls. The trail continues under the falls, but it was closed, probably because there had been ice on the trail earlier.
We continued to drive until we saw Bridal Veil Fall. A side road meanders behind this waterfall, making it unique, at least in Western North Carolina. The day we were there, the road was blocked off, probably because of ice.
Finally, we drove to Whitewater Falls. We walked down the paved trail to the fall and got a clear view of a fog bank. To kill some time, we walked down the trail to the Whitewater River. The trail makes a very steep descent to the rushing rapids of the river and then continues downstream. We stopped at the bridge across the river to soak in the beauty, and then we plodded back up the hill. By the time we got to the top, the fog bank had lifted. Whitewater Falls is a huge, beautiful waterfall, and we soaked up the view for some time before we headed back home for the day.
My family loves ice cream because of a genetic predisposition. One night, we decided to make ice cream using the ice cream maker Mom and Dad received for Christmas. Dad liked it so much that he sat down with the freezer container and a spoon to scrape every last bit of ice cream into his mouth.