We had only enough time to unpack from our trip to Portland when Jaclyn suggested we rent a van and drive to North Carolina for the High Point Furniture Market.
The HP Furniture Market is this sort of Mecca for designers and business owners to network, check out manufacturers, and get in on the know. Jaclyn runs a furniture boutique here in Kansas City (the Coveted Home) and making it to events like this can be essential for success. It’s far more than furniture though. Hoards of vendors bring in antiquities and handcrafted goods from around the globe; Southeast Asian, African, you name it. All the while parties are raging. Good drinks and vibes to go around tenfold. Who could pass this up?
Her suggestion ignited an even greater plan; raid this designers “treasure trove” and hit the Smoky Mountains. Taking with us our camping gear, we would mosey along, sampling from local cuisine and the Appalachian Trail.
A week later we were renting that van and on the road with our dog and a cooler stocked with cheese…
Step 1- Kansas City, MO to Franklin, NC
(822 Miles/12 hours and 32 minutes)
Saint Louis, Missouri
Our first sight is the iconic Gateway Arch of St. Louis, MO. This 630-ft arch is the tallest manmade monument in the states and I must admit, this photo, given the weather, does little justice for the true beauty of this beast.
We reserve our energy by sleeping through the route between St. Louis and Franklin. Driving and snoozing, equal shifts between Jaclyn, myself, and Simone…
The following morning we’re witness to the beginnings of the Appalachians splendor as we enter North Carolina.
Early morning sun, burning the Smoky Mountain haze.
As the sun begins to peak, so does Simone, leaf peeping.
Fall foliage begins to reveal its orchestrated plumes and hues of autumns tune.
Taking in a dose of Americana; Avett Brothers blaring, banjo picking, snare drum kicking.
Franklin, North Carolina
Arriving midday at our first destination we pop our tent and hit the trails
For those points where it’s hard to distinguish between game trails and the actual hiking trail, cairns are strategically placed along to keep the pious hiker safely on the right route.
About an hour in, we run into these two who have been out here for days, working their way around the lower AT. They apparently had a run in with a small black bear earlier in the day. Nothing these two champs can’t handle.
With the sun setting, temperature dropping, we spend a few hours fighting the elements to get a fire started, burning through 3/4 of the journal I brought to document this trip… And for a brief moment we actually had a fire raging, cooking our bundles of carrots, potatoes, onions, and turmeric wrapped in foil, roasting with a can of beans and cheese. Enough to heat our food before the moisture snuffed out our flame for good. Eating to the musical backdrop of Appalachia we welcomed the darkness in excitement for the days to come.
The Appalachian Road Trip will return in Franklin to High Point.