Today’s adventures were more than a simple task or a daring hike. Today’s activities meant so much to me that nothing could hold back my tears. Not many people decide to do such a thing on their honeymoon, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. In 2008, when I was only 14 years old, my father passed away. It was one of the hardest times of my life. My father was my best friend growing up. One of my favorite memories I have with him is fishing. I was known as his “little fishing buddy” and always followed in his tracks. My father was even part of the reason I became interested in photography. But one of the biggest things my father taught me was to adventure! He loved being out in nature, hiking, and getting lost within the deepest woods. I knew I got my love for all of nature from him. My father would always have me look for the smallest things and appreciate it all. Since I was little I have wanted to visit North Carolina because of its wonders. I knew that if my father were alive today he would have loved to see my photographs from our trip. So while we were in North Carolina I decided to put life to something I’ve been saving for my father. A good friend of mine drew up a sketch for me and I was finally able to walk into a tattoo shop and have it come to life. I have always wanted to get a tattoo for my father, but wasn’t sure what exactly what I wanted because everything reminded me of him. There was so much that was special because of him and I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I finally decided when I saw an image online that made me think of my idea.
At one o’clock Brian and I drove to Euphoria Tattoo right in Waynesville, NC, sketch in my hand. I was so excited my hand wouldn’t stop shaking. All I could think of was how much this was going to mean to me. To have something so dear to me, so close to me, I just couldn’t stop smiling. The artists there were extremely nice all around. I was very thankful they fit me in last minute since their schedules were booked. AJ was my tattoo artist and throughout the whole time we talked about what the tattoo meant to me, why we were in North Carolina, and where our next restaurant to try was. The tattoo didn’t take that long since it was only an outline. When I looked in the mirror I could have started crying right there, but I didn’t want to since everyone was looking and smiling at me. I chose a fishing hook and pole for my tattoo because one of my favorite memories with my dad is fishing, especially when I caught my first trout. My dad was so proud! Just the memory of the little fishing vest I had to match my dads, the muggy days we would set out, and all the little creeks we would find the best spots. It meant everything to me. I chose to have it on my inner arm because when I lay my arm against my side, I will always have him close to me. I couldn’t thank AJ and the other guys there enough for letting me come in that day. I hope maybe one day to go back and get another tattoo from them.
After my appointment we grabbed something to eat and headed out to our next stop. We decided to visit Hickory Nut Gap Farm located in Fairview, NC. We wanted to visit an orchard because not only was it October and we wanted to pick pumpkins for when we came back, but another one of my greatest memories with my dad was always in autumn. We used to have the best adventures then. Hiking in the gorgeous red and orange tree filled woods and visiting an orchard often to pick apples and get pumpkins, along with any yummy treats. When we first arrived the orchard seemed small, but as we wandered around we were soon to find it was a decent size. We started with seeing the animals on the one side of the farm. They had chickens, goats, miniature horses, calves, and pigs. It was a lot of fun to see them up close. Especially the calves since we don’t really get the chance to see babies like that. Plus, these ones were so interested in my camera I barely could get any pictures besides of their noses. We made our way to the history barn where they labeled the walls with pictures and articles all about the farm and who started it. Next to that barn was a small pumpkin patch and crates full of beautiful apples.
Across the street from the market was another field filled with pumpkins and a corn maze. We decided to try the corn maze since it had a questionnaire to it. It was quite fun to hear the questions they asked and find out if our answers were right to get us to the finish. While walking the corn maze we stumbled upon some newborn piglets running around with their mommas close by. They’re always cute when they’re that small. After we finished the corn maze we decided to pick our pumpkins and then explore the market before we left. The market smelled amazing between the meats, cheeses, ice cream, and other goodies they were making. We just grabbed a drink and paid for our pumpkins. There was a barn dance and buffet happening that night, but we decided we didn’t want to keep Rusty locked up too long. Driving home and watching the sun set was a wonderful feeling. Not only did I get my tattoo today that I’ve wanted for nearly eight years, but I also got to visit a wonderful farm during my favorite time of the year, on a gorgeous autumn day. Nothing could be more perfect. Today was about relaxation and remembering the good old times and I think we achieved that. We followed that up with a great dinner at a restaurant recommended by AJ called Frogs Leap and a nice warm bonfire.