Asheville vibes, gem mines, and a magnificent elk

Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Jeremiah 33:2-3
– Grove Arcade, Asheville

Thursday took a more relaxed tone, with a leisurely drive into Asheville. We did some serious shopping, fell in love with the downtown vibe, enjoyed a delicious lunch, and then headed to a “Gem Mine” where the children had a great time uncovering a spectacular haul of pretty gemstones.

During last summer’s brief getaway Rebekah and I had fun working our way through some messy and unfruitful buckets of clay at an authentic panning operation (Tall Stories...). But this time around we arranged a more immediately satisfying experience for David and Beks. It turned out to be a great decision and they enjoyed every minute, even scoring a couple of decent finds among the stones.

The drive back to Maggie Valley took us via an interesting National Forest Information Center and Ranger Station and through miles and miles of unspoiled the Pisgah wilderness.

The grandchildren have been consistently enthusiastic about everything they have seen.

Then, in a magical moment of serendipity, David called us outside to see a massive elk helping himself to green apples from a nearby tree. The magnificent creature stayed long enough for David to record a video and for us to look up the difference between deer and elk on Google!

As a friend told me in Montana, when I asked how to tell the animals apart: “It’s easy. A deer looks like a deer, and this here is an elk. See, he looks like an elk.” Well thanks, that helps a lot!

Enjoy another batch of photographs – DEREK

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