Hurricane Irma Madness

This past week has been one of the most stressful weeks due to Hurricane Irma. This storm was so massive; one of the strongest storms in the Atlantic Ocean. Irma strengthen to category 5 hurricane with sustained maximum winds of 185 mph for more than 24 hours. She was 400 miles wide; larger than the width of the state of Florida and could potentially cause catastrophic damage for this entire Sunshine State.

Everyone was so frantic as we all prepared for the worst. It was like apocalyptic doomsday scene from a movie. Water was running low, food on the shelves were emptying quickly, the demand for gas was at an all time high. There were people fighting for supplies; threatening lives. It was a mad house.

I was constantly looking at updates to decide what plan of action I should take. I was feeling a bit uneasy but remained calm even though the news gave me quite a bit of anxiety. I ended up evacuating to North Carolina to stay with my family. The drive took about 18 hours due to all the traffic from everyone trying to leave. Thankfully my family and I all made it there safely.

We all anxiously kept our eyes and ears on Irma and hoped for the best. Mercifully Hurricane Irma quickly weakened as it made landfall in Florida. Even though Irma spared my area some weren’t as fortunate. Irma devastated Southern Florida and destroyed numerous Caribbean Islands. Unfortunately some lives were lost. My heart aches for them and hope they can get through this difficult time.

Hurricane season has been so active this year. One storm after another. I can’t wait for all these tropical storms to dissipate; 2 more months! In the meantime here are a few photos I wanted to share from my last trip in North Carolina before all this hurricane madness went down.

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Grandfather Mountain, NC

After spending a few days in South Carolina. We drove up to Charlotte, North Carolina. My next adventure to cross off on my list was The Grandfather Mountain. This place was at the top of my list that I definitely did not want to miss out on. The mountain is located near Linville, NC. The drive took about 2 1/2 hours from Charlotte. Once you get to the gate, you will be charged an admission fee of $20 per adult that will allow you access the entire park. Along your purchase you will receive a CD and a map to guide you along the drive up the mountain. The Grandfather Mountain has so much to offer from the mile high swinging bridge that allows you to enjoy the 360 panoramic view to the wildlife habitats which has bears, cougars, eagles, and otters. There is also a gift shop, fudge shop, nature museum, and a restaurant.

Upon my arrival, it started raining in the area. Even though I checked the forecast prior to my visit, the weather was different from what I had anticipated. Fortunately, the rain calmed down a bit while I spent my time in the nature museum. The weather remained cold, foggy, windy, and wet. Despite the weather, The Grandfather Mountain is truly breathtaking. I was able to enjoy the stunning scenery after the fog cleared up a bit and was able to capture some clear shots. The walk across the bridge was brief yet exhilarating. I did not find it intimidating even though I knew I was crossing over an 80-foot chasm at more than a mile high in elevation; perhaps the fog helped me conquered my fear of heights. (Just kidding.) Once you cross to the other side, be extremely cautious maneuvering through the large rocks since there are no guard rails to hang on to.

If you are planning a trip to the Grandfather Mountain my recommendation are: 1. Get there early to have enough time to hike, explore, and also to avoid the busy hours. (I spent approximately 5 hours there.) 2. Be sure to wear proper shoes for hiking as the trails can be strenuous and challenging. 3. Dress a bit warmer than your summer wear during this time of year since it is a bit cooler on the mountain. (It was around 58-60 degrees F during my visit.) Lastly, don’t forget to pack your camera to take tons of photographs and enjoy what nature has to offer!

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Columbia Riverfront Park, SC

It has been awhile since I’ve traveled outside of the Sunshine State but recently I made a trip to South Carolina. I searched for various parks prior to my trip to plan out which places would be worth visiting. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to stop by many of them because of the travel distance. However, I did end up at a couple local parks that were rather pleasant. One of the first parks I visited is the Columbia Riverfront Park which is located in Columbia, SC. This park is 167 acres with a historical background. It is the world’s first textile mill to fully operate electrically. The canal is operated to generate hydroelectric power. Besides the history behind this park; it’s a nice place to either go fishing, hiking, or just relax and enjoy the scenic view.

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