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Wine, Sunsets, & Jeepin



Long time, no update, hey guys! Sorry for the long lapse in between posts. We've had a busy but exciting couple of months. Zac accepted a new job, we moved into an apartment, my girlfriends and I attended CMA Fest in Nashville, my grandma and aunt officially moved from Indiana to Georgia, my youngest sister turned 16 and got her drivers license, and my best-friend and sister are getting ready to move away in the fall for school, so we've been trying to balance life, get settled into our new place, while trying to spend time with them before they move. Sigh. 

Over the weekend, my best-friend and I met up with her cousins to make a day out of wine hopping in North Georgia. We started out at Kaya Vineyard & Winery, where we ordered a glass of rose and browsed their giftshop. Next, we visited Frogtown Cellars where we enjoyed a delicious bottle of sweet red muscadine wine. Then, we checked out Wolf Mountain Vineyards, but decided to pass on their wine selection so we skipped over to Monteluce Winery, where I had a glass of Dolce Rosso. Our final stop of the day was at Cavender Creek, where I attempted to finish a glass of Pinot Grigio, but I didn't have it in me. I was officially "wined" out. We capped our evening with a filling Mexican dinner and retired back to our cabin in the mountains for the evening. 


I love waking up in the mountains. I've always had this big spontaneous dream where I buy a piece of land in the mountains and put a travel trailer on the land until I can afford to build my dream house. I would totally do it, if it weren't for the 2-3 hour commute to work. A little much, but I haven't completely ruled it out yet... ;) 


After months of my fur-baby staying with my grandma, he's finally back home with us. I think he's excited but it's been an adjustment for Zac and I, as we have to get back on a dog friendly routine. Kansas has major separation anxiety when left at home alone, so we've been trying to figure out how to manage the three hour gap between the time I leave for work and the time Zac gets home from work. Now that we're in an apartment, we can't have him barking and disturbing the entire building, so I've been trying everything! Lavender dog treats for anxiety, Benadryl as a chill pill, bark collars, muzzles, you name it. The only thing I haven't tried yet, is a local disobedience class. I don't know what to do. If someone has advice, please share. I'm all ears! :) 



We had a gorgeous sunset last Sunday night! After weeks of rain, (rainiest summer ever so far, goodness!) we finally had a clear evening. 



Thursday night, we enjoyed another beautiful (non-rainy) afternoon riding around in the jeep. We explored some backroads we had never checked out before, and ended up finding some gorgeous hidden homes. 


Have a great weekend, 
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Hiking Providence Canyon


A couple months ago, we took a different direction and headed down south towards Lumpkin County, GA to hike a trail named Providence Canyon. Providence Canyon is known around here as the "Grand Canyons of Georgia". It was a beautiful day out, the first warm day we'd had in weeks after some really cold weather. The park was packed! 


 We parked at the guest center where the bathrooms were, and began the trail from there.


We followed the trail down to the stream and explored the inner rims of the canyon. The inner rims of the canyons were sloped with sandy hills, so Kansas would run around in the sand and then lay down in the cool sand to cool down. Too cute! He was cracking me up. 



The trails aren't marked as you get inside this ^ area, so you have to feel your way around, or follow others leads. We walked around aimlessly for about 30 minutes, exploring and searching for a way to get back out to the main trail, lol. Finally, we heard voices and followed the sounds and found our way out. 


Pet owners: use caution in the inner rims if you have a pet that loves water because they may come out soaking wet and covered in red mud. Bring towels, lol! 




Along the outer rim trail, we came across these abandon cars that are now protected by the state park. They serve as ecosystems to the local animals, so they'll continue to remain there. Pretty cool, I love that. 




The views from the outer rims looking in were so pretty! 




We enjoyed the rest of our hike and called it another day of enjoying nature's beauty! 


Life.

Work's had me working my butt off lately. My scheduled shift is 7am-3:30pm, but lately, it's been all over the place. My sleep schedule is so out of whack. I feel like I'm on call 24-7. Last Thursday and Friday, they asked me to work night shift and give the full-time night shift nurse a couple of nights off, so I did. I came in and worked 11pm-7am. Easter Sunday, work called and asked me to come in again. No, sorry. I always say yes, but for once, no. Happy Easter to me. Tuesday I get called in, work 3am-3pm. Wednesday afternoon, I come home from work and unwind with a glass of wine. As soon as my butt touched that couch, I was out. I ended up napping for 8 hours. By the time I woke up, it was 2am, so I got up, used the restroom, moved to the bedroom, and went back to sleep for another 4 hours. Come Thursday morning I felt amazing. I was nice and well rested. I could get used to that feeling. Thursday afternoon they asked me to come in and pick up again so I went home, had myself another glass of wine, and went to bed semi early around 9pm and was back up again at 2:15am getting ready for work. Overtime is nice and all, but messing up your sleep schedule is a struggle in itself. Once you throw your body off, it takes time and days before you feel back to normal again. You go into Zombie mode where you're there, but you're not really there.

Last weekend we enjoyed Game 2 of the Braves opening seasoning at the new SunTrust Park. It was a good game. We paid $30 to park in Lot 9, which ended up being right beside the overpass bridge that takes you to the entrance. Braves beat the San Diego Padres, 5-4. My only complaint about the new stadium, was the long lines! Oh my gosh. I spent probably about 4 or 5 innings waiting in line for nacho plates. What looked like a small line, was the longest line ever! It was like that everywhere. My sister was in a different line at the concession stand for exactly the same amount of time. The lines and the drink prices, $12 for a beer?! That's robbery. Our old stadium allowed cans in, this one doesn't. Boo! I'm hoping they get a handle on those lines and computer systems before our next visit. Things need to flow, and those lines were not flowing. Parking location was great. Trying to leave the parking garage took about an hour. We sat and sat, until things started moving. The new park was beautiful though! They really put a lot of thought and design into creating a Braves community outside of the park as well. After the game was over, T.I performed in the park/stage area. We also got to see Ludacris, a row over from us, waving a giant tomahawk.


Easter Sunday with the family was fun. We took our family Easter pictures and had our traditional easter egg hunt. Our family easter egg hunt will forever be a competition in our family. It's always been a contest to see who can collect the most eggs and find the hidden golden egg. I found the golden egg this year, yay! Sunday afternoon, some family friends came over and cooked out for us and made some authentic mexican dishes like, carne asada and corn casserole. So delicious! Mexican food can't get much better, except for when a Mexican family is preparing you the real deal.



Zac and I celebrated our second anniversary this month, yay! I had my sister take a few anniversary pictures of us. We attempted to use a big 2 balloon, but it was windy and kept hitting us in the head. It made for some funny pictures though.

My sister got a part-time job working at my facility on the weekends, yay. Everyone asks, "Omg, is that your twin?". Yes, but I'm the older twin by 4 years ;) 

I'm working on getting a couple posts up about our latest hikes as soon as I muster up some more time and energy.

xoxo,
Kaitlyn
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Hiking Rabun Bald


A few weeks ago, we ventured up to Clayton, GA to hike the second highest point in Georgia, Rabun Bald. The trail was rated moderate, but gave us a pretty decent workout as the first mile and half to the top was all uphill. The trail is 3 miles long, 1.5 in and 1.5 out.

He loves to give hugs.
I let Kansas off his leash and he would run up the hill in front of me, and then pause to wait for me until I caught back up to him. A couple times we went around curves and I'd lose sight of him, so he'd stop and wait until he made eye contact with me before sprinting up the next section of the trail. He cracks me up. A couple of times we'd get separated by curves in the trail and he'd be hiding around the curve, waiting on me to round the curve also. He's such a momma's boy. 


I was amazed at how intuitive Kansas was. He always knew where to turn and which direction to go. He stayed in the lead both up the trail and down the trail.


When we started the trail, we accidentally took a wrong turn when the trail split to the left and to the right. We decided to go left, since the trees were marked with yellow lines and it wasn't until we were .5 in, and only going down hill, that we realized we were obviously going the wrong direction. Oops.


One thing that was really neat and unique about this trail was how the trees twisted and curved and came together to create a shaded path. For an April hike, it was warm, but still a little breezy and chilly at the top of Rabun Bald. I was glad I had my long sleeve dri-fit shirt to throw on. 

Image via
Kansas turned FIVE this month, so this was his birthday hike/ day out on the town to celebrate another year of life! I wanted to stop and purchase a birthday hat and balloons so we could have a birthday photo shoot but we were tight on time. I can't believe my baby is five! I can recall the details vividly from the day I got him! I was so excited to have my first apartment and finally be able to have a dog. I'd been to all the local pet stores, but I couldn't find any puppies in my price range, so I turned to craigslist. I found an ad from a local rescue shelter that took in strays, abandon litters, etc. I messaged the guy to inquire about the puppies, and two hours later I was in his backyard holding them. Kansas was the runt of his litter. I couldn't help but feel for this poor little shy guy. I picked him up and knew he was the one. I officially became a fur-mom April 15th, 2012.


 But boy did his shy act have me fooled! The months following, this little runt gave me a run for my $25. When locked up in his cage, he would whine all night long. Crate training him was the biggest pain! He would pee and poop in his cage and then kick the black liner out of the cage. I'd walk into the room to find him laying on the  inside of the cage, and just staring at me with these eyes like, help me please. The mess was everywhere! Oh boy did he teach me patience. There were also the times where he'd jump the baby gate that was keeping him locked in on the front porch. I lived on the second floor of a walk up townhouse, so I would block off the stairs with a baby gate and open the front door so we could get some fresh air. Kansas would leap over the baby gate, sprint down the stairs and tease me like, catch me if you can. I'd attempt to chase him down and he'd think it was a game and start running circles around me. People would drive by laughing as I tried to chase this dog down. It's amazing he didn't get hit by a car all the times he jumped the baby gate and darted out into the middle of the road. My heart sank every time like, "Oh my gosh, today's the day!" I would get so frustrated with him. He outsmarted me every time I came up with new ideas.  He even jumped the gate on an afternoon when I was walking out the door for work. He slid past me and he was gone. Dog bye. I had to call out of work that day and tell my manager, "Hey sorry I can't come in, but my dog took ran away and I have to go find him." Lol, so embarrassing. We have years worth of memories together. I think back to the times when he was wild and ruthless and appreciate the times now where he's more relaxed and chilled. He never misses a beat. 


I don't know exactly when or where he went from puppy Kansas to mature adult dog Kansas, but I love mature adult dog Kansas and the fact that I can actually take him places now. I can let him off his leash to run around, spoil him with nice things, and know that he won't tear stuff to shreds. This dog has been my rock through life's up and downs and I'll never forget how much peace, comfort, and companionship he's brought to me over the years. He's my furry human, no matter how many people try to argue with me that he's not human. 


We had a beautiful clear view from the top of Rabun Bald. You can do a full 360 spin and capture all of the landscape and see everything for  miles and miles. 


Our final elevation was 4658.16ft. 


Hiking Panther Creek

Saturday afternoon we drove to Clarksville, Georgia to hike Panther Creek Trail. You can choose to park in the small parking lot provided by the Chattahoochee Forest Service for $4/day, or you can choose to park along the side of the road for free. We were surprised by how many cars were there parked on the shoulder of the road. I'd guess about 30 cars or so. Since we were staying the night, we decided to pay to park in the designated parking area. Like most national parks, you put the money in the envelope and just slip it in the box. 



The sign reads the trail is about 7.5 miles long. Our fit bits averaged 8 miles and 15,000 steps. The trail crosses the creek several times throughout the hike and gives you multiple picture worthy angles and views. Along your hike, you'll come across several areas where you can pitch a tent or Eno. You don't have to camp beside the falls, although it does make for one gorgeous view to wake up to. Really, you can set up camp wherever is best for you. If you want to be close to the entrance, you can camp there, or if you want to camp in the middle or back of the trail, you can do that too. 



The trail was made up of three grades. The first mile was mostly declines, the second mile was mostly flat, and the third mile was inclines and declines. The final half of the trail was steep and downhill.  It was probably the hardest 5 minute decline I’ve ever hiked down. There wasn’t much to hold on to so I kept having to sit on my butt, and then stretch my toes down to the next rock and continue on. There was a chain link in some parts that you could hold onto, but in other areas it had fallen down, so use caution when grabbing. 


I think it would of been easier without the gear on our backs, but anytime I had to lean forward, I could feel the weight on my back leaning forward, throwing me off balance. It was challenging, but we successfully made it to the bottom of the falls. I went to take a picture only to realize I'd lost my phone on the trail. I'd taken a picture with it pretty recently so I knew it wasn't too far behind. Yay me, I got to back track and repeat the steep decline all over again. I ended up finding my phone on one of the hills where I took a big step up. Thankfully I found it before the next group of hikers behind us came across it. 
Miranda and I set up the tent, while Zac went searching for wood to build the fire. It was cute how set he was on building a fire. The guy next to us offered his fire to us, but no, Mr. Independent was going to start his own fire. Sure enough, he did just that! Lol, the guy next to us gave us some lint to help us keep our spark alive, and finally we had ourselves a fire. Thanks fellow camping dude! We enjoyed the fire for a bit, before putting it out and calling it a night. We huddled in the tent together and played around of Skippo before going to bed. We knew it was going to be a chilly night, but once it dropped into the 30's, we were reminded of just how cold the night would be. The sound of the waterfall outside our tent was like white noise. We were a little paranoid that we may encounter black bears, so I think everyone slept a little lighter than we would if we were at home in our beds, but overall, it wasn't too bad, just a little colder than we hoped for. 


Unzipping the tent to this gorgeous view, made the chilly night somewhat worth it all! Since it had rained throughout the night, we weren't able to start a fire and make breakfast and coffee like we had hoped to. Granola and water it was. We packed up our gear, took a few pictures, and began our trek back out of the trail. The trail was wet from the rain, so were cautious and careful on our way out. Zac managed to find a slippery spot and busted it, haha. His sleeping bag caught his fall so he was ok.  We've all had our fair share of slips and falls, so we willingly welcomed him to the club. 




One good thing about the rain, is it always makes for pretty falls. The best time to visit waterfall is after a good rainfall. 




After 3.5 miles of huffing and puffing our way back up the inclines, we successfully completed Panther Creek Trail. 

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