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KATHERINE ILONA
Katherine Ilona is a destination wedding & adventure elopement photographer and youtuber encouraging genuine and authentic women to find their voice.  She is a Washington DC Wedding and Engagement Photographer, and is based out of Alexandria, VA and Charlottesville, VA.
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Camping in Asheville -- With Dogs!

April 5, 2018

ADVENTURE WEEKEND AT BLACK BALSAM KNOB // ASHEVILLE, NC  // ASHEVILLE ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Over Easter weekend Michael and I took Daisy camping out in Asheville, NC.  We went to one of my favorite places -- a spot where I captured several now-famous sunset photos and where I have gone camping a couple times before.  I totally recommend checking it out and getting away for the weekend.  Camping in the wilderness and soaking in the clean air, the way the sky looks through the pine trees, the sunsets, and sunrises, and the sounds of wind whistling through crevices in the middle of the night gives me life.  It is a natural reset to the hustle and bustle that our world, and my industry demands.  It breaks my heart that we live in a world where human connection and a lack of electronics gives us anxiety.  Camping in a place where there is no cell phone service, much less 4G LTE, should allow us to calm our hearts and settle our minds instead of stress us out that we are not updating IG stories live or texting everyone back right away...more on that to come in my next article.  For now, let me share with you our little adventure and the planning that went into it so you and your four-legged friends can share in the fun that this glorious world we live in provides.  

 

As a side note, I wanted to share with you that one of the reasons why I hike and backpack and rock-climb and do all these outdoorsy things is not only because it makes my brain and body feel great, but also because it is in these places, that I have truly felt and understood God's Majesty.  Not God, per say, but the true meaning of the word majestic.  You are so humbled and overwhelmed by how small you and your problems are in these places and so filled with a faith and a trust that things are in the hands of someone so much greater than yourself.  As we sat on top of the mountain with Daisy hovering slightly above the ground so as to not sit on the cold rocks with her little puppy bottom and whining every other second about the temperature of the rock, the sun set in a breathtaking array of pinks, and reds, and oranges mixed in with deeper hues created by the quickly moving clouds.  Every minute we would be hit with a chilly gust of wind that swept over the cracks in the rock and whistled through the little shrubs hanging on to the knob by persevering roots, but the sight before us made one take pause.  I mentioned a verse that I had shared with Korrinne a while back on a similar trip, which was Psalm 19:4 - 

 

'Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.'

 

How cool is the idea and the vision that when the sun sets, it has a tent awaiting it and a God that promises a new morning to whatever darkness comes with the night.

 

 

WHERE TO CAMP: Black Balsam Knob, Asheville NC

 

Black Balsam Knob is just gorgeous -- it is part of a National Forest which is AWESOME because you can camp FOR FREE.  Sure, it does not have the amenities of other camping locations that you pay for, but as long as you are 1000 feet off of the road, you can enjoy the forest in all of its glory.   It is dog friendly and the only thing they ask is that dogs remain on a leash when they are on a trail.  In the forest it is completely free reign for anything your four-legged friends could want to explore or enjoy.  When you get to Black Balsam Knob, park along the side of the road and find a campsite on either the left or right side.  I suggest camping in the trees, as it breaks the wind, but if you are feeling adventurous and decide to spend the night on the knob BE SURE to stake your tent down or you will be blown right off -- I promise.  If you continue further down the road, passing the trailhead on your right, you will find bathrooms at the parking lot.  There are also bathrooms and trash cans right before the Black Balsam turn-off on the main leg of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Please be sure to pack-out all of your trash and use the awesome trash cans to prevent any littering.

 

WHERE TO EAT:  

 

Moose Cafe, Asheville NC -- seriously some of the best southern cooking I have ever tasted.  We got massive pieces of fried chicken with two homecooked sides, unlimited apple butter, and biscuits that are as tall as the empire state building.  

 

Sunny Point Cafe, Asheville NC -- dog friendly and super yummy.  This restaurant is a local favorite and your puppers are welcome inside or out!

 

WHERE TO DRINK:

 

Wicked Weed Brewing, Co, Asheville NC -- an awesome brewery and restaurant that serves burgers, sandwiches, and dinner entrees like pork shank and Carolina Bison meatloaf.  Puppers are welcome and encouraged on their outdoor patio!

 

CAMP FOOD:

 

Below is a list of camp foods that I packed for us:

- trader joes beef chili 

- freeze dried bacon and cheese mashed potatoes [you should be able to find these with rice and pasta in the grocery store]

- trader joes bison jerky

- trader joes sweet and juicy dried mango pieces 

- cranberries and dried cherries 

- liquid eggs [this way you don't have to deal with egg shells and shard but can still enjoy an awesome breakfast]

- freeze dried hashbrowns [can find them in the grocery store, just add water!]

- pre-cooked bacon -- just heat it up over your jet boil, camp stove, or open fire

 

If you are interested in me sharing more camping tips and tricks, such as recipes, or awesome fire starting hints, comment below!

 

 

 

 

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