My friend Scott and I left Tuesday Morning on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains National Park. I had booked an Airbnb for two nights above Gatlinburg. It was more room than we needed, with three bedrooms and two baths. The highlight of our lodging was the view from the balcony on the third floor.
The following day we did a 2 1/2 mile hike at Laurel Falls.
Autumn is my favorite season, I love the colors!
We stopped to check out Mannish Branch Falls, but weren’t able to cross the creek to see it up close.
Our next stop was “the Sinks”.
Our second hike was 5.5 miles at Rainbow Falls. The elevation change was 1,500 ft.
The mountains were dusted with snow.
Since it hadn’t rained much for a while, the falls were smaller than usual but still beautiful.
We saw two bears from the car.
All together we walked over 10 miles yesterday, and my body knew it. After a hot shower, some pizza, and a couple of Tylenol, I was almost good as new.
2019 was a tragic and heart shattering year. It began with a trip to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. I was gone for 18 days with people I didn’t know, on an adventure tour through Intrepid Travel. After a short introduction to Santiago, Chile…
We took a bus across the Andes
And spent a couple of days at a ranch in Argentina. I took this time to recuperate from the worst intestinal bug I’d ever experienced. I had a doctor come to my hotel room because I was so ill and dehydrated. When you go through the loss of a loved one, it manifests itself physically in addition to emotionally.
We then moved onto Mendoza, Argentina (wine country), which was gorgeous.
Buenos Aires was next on the agenda. Very vibrant and busy!
Next, we visited the amazing Iguazu Falls, from both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides.
Finally, we arrived in Rio de Janerio, Brazil…
It was an interesting trip, but I didn’t feel like myself. A week after arriving home, I flew to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for the annual Urban Adventures conference, and was ill there also.
In May, I moved to my lovely condo with a beautiful view of the skyline of Cincinnati from the Clubhouse/pool.
I began online dating and was beginning to feel more settled, when my only child, my beautiful boy, Justin passed in July. If you’re a parent, it’s your worst nightmare. This is the last photo of he and I taken 3 weeks before his passing.
Unless you’ve lost a child, you can’t fathom the suffering, pain, and grief you go through. He was my universe, my heart. Eleven days later I went on a solo 1,000-mile road trip to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Toronto. I was trying to distract myself from the horrific grief.
I continued with the travels…next was Three Oaks, Michigan with my girlfriend for a long weekend, where we explored Indiana Dunes State Park.
I climbed Mt. Leconte (3,000 ft. elevation change – 11 miles roundtrip) with a friend
And on the way home, met another friend at Red River Gorge, where I spread my son’s ashes at Whittleton Arch Trail. He used to love going hiking/camping there.
I led a group on a hike nearby my condo. I found some solace in the woods.
My next trip was to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, and Death Valley Nat’l Park, California with a friend.
I finished the year with a trip to Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida
I discovered the travel was a temporary shallow distraction, but I continued searching for beauty.
In between the travel, I was working hard continuing to build my company, Cincinnati Urban Adventures. We were having a great year – 2,500 passengers and I now had 7 freelance Tour Guides.
I grieved for my son and sometimes I would feel guilty that I wasn’t grieving for my husband as much. It’s odd that there’s a name for someone who has lost their spouse “widow” and lost their parents “orphan”, but the grief is so heavy and heart-wrenching, there is no word for a parent who has lost their child (only child for me – with no hopes of being a biological Grandmother).