This trip/journey/quest I am on was never supposed to be a sightseeing trip but more of a sight-experiencing trip. Still, it’s hard to bypass the touristy sites — often they are the most memorable places, places my host or hostess wish to show me.
Which is how I ended up at City of Rocks on the border of Georgia and Tennessee. At first I didn’t know what to make of it. Fake fairy tale scenes and garden gnomes dotted the rockery, and people pushed and shoved their way through narrow openings between boulders.
But then I found the gem at the end of the rainbow trail — an incredible panoramic view that supposedly allowed someone standing there to see seven states.
One of those states was North Carolina, the next stop on my journey. North Carolina seems like such a diverse state (most of them are) that I’m not sure what I want to explore. Some people have suggested Cape Hatteras or Wrightsville Beach. Others think I should go to Natahala Gorge. I suppose I should at least step on the Appalachian Trail.
When I began this journey, I thought by the time I reached North Carolina, I would be ready for a backpacking trip, and yet, I am now in worse shape than when I started. I haven’t hiked much at all in the last few weeks, spending my time non-driving time visiting people and places.
My return journey will be completely different. Because of the weather, I won’t be going further north, so there won’t be any more people to visit.
I am looking forward to seeing what I will do and what gems I will find.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)