Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall Girls Retreat

At the beginning of October, I went on a Girl's Retreat at Hanging Rock State Park, which is about two hours away from Chapel Hill.  My close friend Becca (below left) has a talent for bringing people together, and including good food and the great outdoors in her plans.  She takes the time and energy to rally our friends to join her on adventures, and I so admire her for it.

From Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon we were up at the state park, and Becca had reserved a cabin months and months in advance so that we could stay at one of the nice, newer ones.  I could not get over how much I enjoyed being there, and how beautiful and clean it was.  I was the only person bringing a baby even though most of us are mommies, and I was nervous about many aspects of the trip, but most of all about the lodging and whether or not it would work with Orion and his running all over the place.  Fortunately, the cabins were simple, sturdy, and the furniture was functional and decor was spare.  Orion was in heaven exploring the sun porch, running all over with the balls I had brought for him, and playing with our shoes.  But the best part of the cabin was the wall of windows and the sun porch that looked out on the forest.  These photos do the scene no justice because my camera was adjusting for indoor light, but it was like living in a tree house.  Magical!

One of the things that cracked me up about our Girls Retreat is that the friends who came are exactly the friends who are doing a Health Challenge with me, so we were all trying to stay away from sugar, and basically anything unhealthy.  Since we all signed up to prepare one meal for the entire group, at one point in the week prior to the retreat someone asked for a general menu so that she wouldn't plan a meal that repeated another friend's menu.  The responses we all emailed back were things like, "One Pot Farrow", "Quinoa Stew" and "Kale Salad".  What kind of Girls Retreat was this going to be?!  But the awesomest of awesome Retreats, is how it turned out.  I've never eaten so much good and healthy and tasty food in one weekend.  And luckily, we all took one free day while we were together and Becca made molten lava chocolate cake, with fresh raspberries and blackberries from Jamie's stash.  Basically, it was perfection.

And the rest of the time we spent hiking!  Here we are: Orion and I, Jamie, Abby and Allison.  Hanging Rock State Park has all kinds of different trails, so we chose a relatively easy one for Friday afternoon, a 6-miler for Saturday when we had more time, and another shorter trail for Sunday morning.  Orion was the best hiking companion I could have asked for.  He happily rode in the carrier, and quietly fell asleep against my shoulders when it was nap time.  I am so thankful that he was peaceful, and calm.  For all of the worry I had about bringing Orion, everything ran so smoothly.  Having four close friends with helpful hands around was such a big help.

Auntie Abby and Orion, when we paused at one of the scenic vistas to have snacks and stretch our legs.

By mile five of day two, my shoulders started to ache something terrible!  My son is heavy!

So that night we did yoga and swapped massages, ate snacks and chatted until late, to limber up for our hiking on day three.

And it was so wonderful to be outdoors.  The day really aced autumnal perfection, and it was warm and gorgeous.  It was the perfect weekend off from my day to day life, to recharge my batteries and jump back into my world, refreshed and ready to take the bull by the horns.

Thanks Becca, for a fabulous adventure!

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