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Trip 9: The dreaded Plan B

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I’m not a fan of Plan B’s. Actually, let me clarify that. Plan B’s make me nervous. Now, I am getting more comfortable with them since my life has felt like a giant Plan B for the last few years but they aren’t my preference. See, Plan B means something went wrong with Plan A… the plan I expected, prepared for, and put my heart into. Plan B is usually something I didn’t see coming, didn’t ask for, maybe even didn’t want.

Plan B’s are what happens when you lose a job, get a divorce, find out you can’t have children, get lost, suffer an injury, those kinds of things… 

That brings me to trip number 9 of 50 places I’ve never been for the year I turn 50. At first, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go at all. Travel restrictions and ‘stay at home’ orders were limiting most travel options. But this one in the North Carolina mountains fell in line with all good social distancing guidelines.

I was so excited to stay in a renovated caboose on a bison farm!

Seriously, how cute is this place?

The charm of the place wasn’t dependent on restaurants or stores being open. While some area attractions were still closed under the COVID guidelines, the natural landscape of Western North Carolina offered more than enough to do.

The plan was to hike to an abandoned plane crash about a mile off a popular trail just outside of Asheville, near Maggie Valley. Picture me standing on a jagged rock in front of the plane, my cape blowing in the wind, and music like you hear at the Olympics playing in the background. That was going to be my Instagram moment. (I know, my imagination is hard to beat LOL) But the plan faded as we hit one road closed sign after another. Yep, we needed a Plan B.

I always say that Milemarker 50 is about embracing the unknown but I’ve always thought about it in terms of the bigger picture. Maybe it’s really about embracing all the small moments that change in our day from minute to minute. Embracing the unknown is more than just being prepared for the worst… it’s feeling secure and balanced in every NOW.

Plan B was 4,629 feet in the air.. the summit at Max Patch in the Pisgah National Forest. It was 44 degrees at the top preceded by a loooonnngg set of stairs and a giant grassy hill.

We wrapped up the day kicking it old school at a local pond… using a pole that wasn’t more than a long bamboo stick with line and a hook duct taped to the end of it. We improvised without any real bait and used corn! You wouldn’t think that was enough to catch 4 fish would you??! 

If she looks cold. It was! 46 degrees!

That evening, I got our dinner ready, while Bison grazed on a fresh serving of grass in a neighboring field.  I watched them meander around seemingly content (they probably don’t even make plans) as I sipped wine out of a coffee cup(because that’s all they had in the caboose). We had planned on making brats for dinner so I tossed them on the grill just in case the fish we fried weren’t good (turns out it wasn’t even necessary because the the fish were the best!).

We laughed at the strange combination and at my daughters recounting of taking the fish off the line. I realized we laughed a lot that day. We saw more of the area than I expected (since we kept driving around to find access that wasn’t closed) and truthfully, I was tired enough to be glad I didn’t get to do the planned hike (it would have been way more extreme).

Wait a minute, it was happening again. I began to realize that Plan B wasn’t just ok. It was pretty darn good. Embracing the unknown is both a practice in humility and fearlessness.

I may not have the control I wish over all the things but I always have control over my reaction to the things. Making peace with the disappointments. Finding gratitude. I’m starting to see the benefits of Plan B