I had arrived in the Smoky Mountains yesterday evening in time to go by the visiter center for a map and helpful advise on where to visit while I was here. I had been advised by Nick, the friendly South Carolinian Park Ranger of some of the best campsites in the smokies. We talked for awhile and he gave me a few options of some great hiking loops and where to park my car. “Newfound Gap is probably my favorite place in the park to catch the sunset,” he said. “If you leave now you can probably catch it.” I thanked him and hopped in my car and proceeded to drive the windy, snow banked roads up the steep mountains for the next 13 miles, driving slowly and admiring the beautiful mountains God created. With the windows down and radio off I let in the mountain sounds and cool breeze and told God I was thankful for being alive. I stopped on the occasional overlook along the way, to get out and breathe-in the fresh, cool, crisp air. I didn’t take a single picture though. Moments like these were for me only. I made it just in time to see the sunset. I pulled my car into the empty parking lot and watched as the sun made its final decent over the mountains in the distance and the sky painted for me the most beautiful landscape of clouds and colors. I grabbed my camera in the passenger seat quickly, lined up the shot, and snapped the shutter. I got it.
I set the camera down next to me as I leaned on the hood of my prius, taking in the last and final moments between me and this unique sunset that would never be seen again. I enjoyed the serenity and quiet of these moments so much, I decided to stay for the night and enjoy it longer. For dinner, I made a four cheese ravioli with a basil marinara I had picked up from a grocery store on my way here. After dinner, I used the rain water to clean my dishes before finally crawling into my sleeping bag for the night. I read my kindle for several hours in my car before finally drifting off to sleep. And just like that, it was morning. This was my view. I laid in my bed for what felt like hours just gazing out the window, still sleepy and with no real desire to move or get up. I had nowhere to be and a full day ahead of me. I had to remind myself that I was allowed to take this time, as much as I needed, to enjoy just being alive. But still, I felt like I needed to be doing something productive. The effects of working in a big city, still lingering in my soul. I ignored these feelings and decided today, what I needed was a detox. I turned off my phone and laid in my warm sleeping bag till noon. Today was my day, and it was going to be a great one.