In the heat of the summer, I always find it hard to get motivated to do much of anything outdoors. And yet I always feel better after an active afternoon in the fresh air. So in order to escape the heat and humidity of Greenville, we decided to head up to the mountains where the temperature is always 15 degrees cooler. Over the last few months, I’ve seen lots of photos from one specific location on the Blue Ridge Parkway – Black Balsam Knob – so even with a 60% chance of rain in the forecast we hoped for the best, hopped in the car and headed onward and upward.

We drove higher and higher in the Jeep until even cell reception was lost and we were eye-to-eye with the clouds. And then by sheer luck (because we lost our GPS signal) we came across the trailhead for Black Balsam. Clear air, 60-degrees and mostly sunny weather was an invitation to jump out of the car and start the hike to the summit.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone.
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Whenever we head off on an adventure I always make sure we have three items packed in the car and backpack: our camera, an extra pair of shoes, and some sort of hydration. Often I pick up a water bottle and fill it up, but for this trip, I picked the latest vitaminwater zero squeezed lemonade during a Target run the night before. Because I knew we were going to be hiking in the mid-August sun, I knew we needed something with a boost of electrolytes and vitamins, so vitaminwater it was!

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Earlier in the week, I asked my Instagram family to help me decide on what to wear for the day, hiking casual (shorts and tee shirt) or an ironic but pretty (a dress). The majority voted for hiking casual and I’m so glad they did because although the hike wasn’t strenuous it was muddy and involved scaling some pretty steep rocks to get to the balds, something I could not have done in a dress.

Once we were at the top of the mountain, the views were truly breathtaking. We sat down for a bit to catch our breaths (I guess those gym nights don’t do as much for us as I thought!) and soak up the views and the humidity-free air.

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There’s something about being outside and getting far removed from the commotion and stress of everyday life. Sure Netflix and chill is nice every now and again, but I believe that to truly clear your mind and reset you need to get outside, breathe in some fresh air, put away the technology, forget about the rest of the world and just live in the moment.

And that’s exactly what we did.

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You can find me on Instagram at
Emily Lewandowski @emilyjlewandowski