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Asheville Part Two: Brunch and John Rock Hike

In an effort not to overwhelm you with tons of pictures from everything we crammed into two days in Asheville, I thought it would be smart to break it into two posts. Read part one here (heavy on food + beer).

And here is the Saturday recap! I somehow managed to sleep until almost 10 a.m. I woke up a few times but willed myself back to sleep. Ten hours of sleep after averaging 5 hours a night for weeks was pretty much necessary.

We took our time getting ready and drinking coffee before checking out and hitting downtown in search of brunch.

We’ve made countless visits to Asheville but never had breakfast as Early Girl. It is an Asheville establishment featuring farm-to-table comfort food but usually the crowds and long waits keep us away. Luck for us, the city was pretty quiet Saturday morning and we were able to get seated after a short 15 minute wait.

I went with the Early Girl Benny – grit cake topped with tomato, spinach, poached eggs, tomato gravy and avocado. I had a biscuit on the side, which I loaded up with plenty of butter and local jam.

Our brunch did a great job of fueling us for the hike we had planned. We drove to the Pisgah National Forest to hike up to John Rock. It’s a granite rock face at 3,300 feet elevation that overlooks the Davidson River Valley and Looking Glass Rock.

It was a beautiful day for a hike and we were pleased to find that the trail was really uncrowded. I think we only passed 4-5 other groups of people over the course of our 3-hour hike. We covered about six miles.

The trail was beautiful and very well-maintained. It was moderately difficult with some strenuous uphills.

We crossed quite a few streams and some waterfalls.

The most difficult part of the hike came when we turned onto the John Rock trail to make our way up to the rock face. It got pretty steep and my heart rate was definitely up there.

The views from the top were amazing and a perfect payoff for the hard uphill.

I only had a minor heart attack when Brandon was standing at the edge of the rock!

Beautiful scenery = insert yoga pose.

Brandon and I really enjoy hiking and camping but life has been so crazy recently that there has been no time. During our hike Saturday we scoped out some great campsites and are already planning a return trip very soon to enjoy fall colors and camping. Besides, we have to do this hike again with Sullie. She would love it!

The great outdoors…yea or nay?

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Matt @ The Athlete's Plate September 26, 2011, 6:16 am

    Wow I am so jealous! Hiking and brunch? Sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday!

  • 2
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers September 26, 2011, 6:44 am

    Love the pics! I am going to Asheville in 2 weeks and was looking for a good hike. I’m really happy you posted info about this one.

    • 3
      Jen September 26, 2011, 8:23 am

      thanks tiff! let me know if you have any questions about asheville/hiking!

  • 4
    Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) September 26, 2011, 7:23 am

    I LOVE this post!! Hiking is definitely one of my fave things to do! And that photo of you doing yoga is AMAZING 🙂

    • 5
      Jen September 26, 2011, 8:23 am

      aw, sooooo good to hear from you emma! thanks for the comment!

  • 6
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad September 26, 2011, 7:35 am

    Absolutely yay!!!! This looks like a wonderful way to spend a Saturday! Hiking is such a great way to switch up your routine but still get the heart pumping. And those views are beautiful!

    • 7
      Jen September 26, 2011, 8:23 am

      i agree that hiking is a good way to switch up your routine. my calf muscles are SUPER sore from saturday!

  • 8
    Holly September 26, 2011, 7:35 am

    I would be a “yay” although my Hubz would demand we stay in a cabin with modern conveniences as opposed to a camper or tent! Hehe.

    • 9
      Jen September 26, 2011, 8:22 am

      haha, love it!

  • 10
    lindsay September 26, 2011, 8:03 am

    wow, now thats some scenery. We thought about moving to asheville. Maybe we should! Would you stay and be our neighbors??

    • 11
      Jen September 26, 2011, 8:22 am

      we would come visit you all the time!!!

  • 12
    Jessica W. September 26, 2011, 8:09 am

    LOVE Asheville! Our favorite restaurant there is Salsa’s, and Early Girl breakfast is fantastic! I’ve ordered that very same dish you had and it was so good! Also, thanks for the hike info. We are going to Asheville in November and have been wanting to try a good trail out there. Do you think that trail is too much for someone who will be almost 5 months pregnant, but is pretty active on a regular basis? 🙂

    • 13
      Jen September 26, 2011, 8:22 am

      jessica – i think you should be okay with this trail…just take breaks when you need to! there aren’t many good hiking trails really close to asheville so you’ll probably have to drive out to the pisgah (about 45 minutes) or you can check out dupont national forest. tons of beautiful waterfalls!

  • 14
    Kate September 26, 2011, 8:30 am

    My mom and I went to Asheville this spring for a weekend & we ate at Early Girl twice, we loved it that much! It looks like you had a great getaway to celebrate such an exciting career transition!!

    • 15
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:54 pm

      i can definitely see how you could have eaten there twice in one visit. we loved our breakfast and i’m so happy we were finally able to try it out!

  • 16
    ashley September 26, 2011, 9:37 am

    Brad would love it if I woke up on a Saturday w/ a hike planned! This post is making me think that I should. 🙂

    GORGEOUS photo of you in the yoga pose! So I have to ask – who took the photo of you and Brandon?

    • 17
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:53 pm

      you should do it!

      there was one couple leaving the rock face right when we got up there so they offered to take a picture! we were lucky!

  • 18
    Jen September 26, 2011, 9:41 am

    Such gorgeous views! We used to hike almost every weekend. I miss it so much! Glad you had a great weekend 🙂

  • 19
    Laura September 26, 2011, 10:16 am

    I love everything you did in Asheville this weekend. I Haven’t tried Chai Pani yet but I will be going this week. Let me know next time yall are headed this way. If I am in town I would love to go hiking with you!

    • 20
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:52 pm

      we’re hoping to get back up there super soon so we will definitely give you a shout. you must try chai pani. it was amazing!!! the owners even emailed me to thank me for the blog review. that’s awesome customer service!

  • 21
    Bonnie September 26, 2011, 11:32 am

    What a fun, celebratory weekend! I love mixing in specials like good food and beer with lots of rest and activity – such a healthy way to spend a weekend. 🙂 And I don’t think I commented but a HUGE congrats on deciding to step out and follow your goals and dreams. What an amazing journey you’re on! We’re all exciting to follow along. 🙂

    Oh – and a big YEA to the outdoors. My husband and I spent all day yesterday climbing an 11,354 ft. peak in Alberta near our home in Calgary. Snowed on us at the top but we saw all the larch trees changing colors and it was absolutely beautiful – and just what we needed. 😀

    • 22
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:50 pm

      bonnie – thank you so much for your comment and for your congratulations! i am beyond excited that this is all finally happening. it feels surreal but more than anything i just feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to make a career out of something that i love so much.

      your hike sounds amazing. i love doing long hikes to elevations that high. it feels like such a journey and the views from the top are always amazing.

      again, thanks so much for your comment!

  • 23
    Marian September 26, 2011, 12:32 pm

    that hike looks so beautiful! I absolutely love hiking – the mountains are my favorite vacation spot

    • 24
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:45 pm

      let me know if you have any fave hiking spots around asheville!

  • 25
    Kira September 26, 2011, 2:28 pm

    We need to take a trip to Asheville SO badly. Brunch + hike sounds like my ideal Saturday. H isn’t so keen on camping, though he likes day trips. We loved our most recent hike in the Smokies. I love hikes that go TO somewhere, like the one you did. I love, love, love hiking.

    • 26
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:44 pm

      kira – i know that you guys would love asheville. you must visit the first chance you get. there is so much to do/see/eat/drink. i also like hikes that culminate is some nice view or pretty scenery. we’re really hoping to get more hiking/camping in this fall!

  • 27
    Clara September 26, 2011, 3:52 pm

    You had me drooling over all your Asheville posts! I’ve heard great things but never been able to go. The Indian restaurant is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and the smoked salt on the cake- divine! Seems like a wonderful celebration 🙂

    • 28
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:42 pm

      clara – asheville is a really unique city and i highly encourage that everyone try and visit at some point in time. there is so much to do and see (and eat!).

  • 29
    Laura September 26, 2011, 4:22 pm

    I need some running advice. I just completed my first 5k on September 17th and I signed up for another 5k on October 29th. I’ve been looking at 4 week training plans and they all look really intense and then there are plans that last 8-9 weeks. Do you have any recommendations for training plans that will work for my 4 week timeline?

    • 30
      Jen September 26, 2011, 4:38 pm

      hi laura – i don’t know that i can recommend any specific training plans. two things to consider…have you tried runner’s world smart coach? they will customize a plan for you based on how far out from the race you are and how difficult you want the plan to be. second, what about just doing the last four weeks of the couch to 5k program.

      OR…you could just have fun with it and not follow a training plan. try to get at least 3-4 runs in a week just to maintain the base you’ve worked to build.

      let me know if you have any questions! good luck!

  • 31
    Joanna Bodie September 26, 2011, 5:52 pm

    What amazing views!! I frequent Charlotte A LOT, my best friend lives there and next time I’m there I will make sure I check out your yoga class…she does yoga but I am not sure where she practices. I moved to Atlanta from Richmond two months ago and there aren’t too many yogies around here or should I say…many yoga studios especially in the outskirts of the city…le sigh.

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