This past Thursday and Friday the staff from Catawba Lands Conservancy went on a retreat to Lake James, which is located outside of Morganton towards western North Carolina. It was held at a house owned by the Executive Director. Before arriving, I had my own demons to vanquish. on our way we stopped in beautiful downtown Lincolnton to eat at the Courtside Cafe.
You see, the week before I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2006, a group of us ate there after working on a transplant project at the Rhyne Preserve. Rather hungry, I saw they had two sizes of calzones. I ended up ordering the large ham and cheese calzone. Much to my astonishment, the beast was 18" long and almost 6" wide at the center. Of course some unnamed individual, knowing my legendary ability to eat, goaded me into eating the whole thing. I took up the challenge to answer Brinkley's cry (waa?) and ended up victorious without throwing anything up, although I was sick the next day and could no longer eat there or any calzones. I did go on to an amazing marathon experience of 3:30 though!
Okay, fast forward to 2008. I have returned. I decided it was time to mend the old wound and get a calzone, but this time the "small" one (half the size) with chicken and spinach. Just to add to the insult I ordered a side of fries, which were quite tasty. It felt good. This was turning out well!
The retreat itself was quite pleasant, the whole staff was there and Dave's recently completed house was nice enough. It was bitterly cold out with the wind whipping up some whitecaps. Thankfully we scavenged plenty of firewood. I had toyed with the idea of bringing my wetsuit and swimming across and back, but that never happened.
Our mom extraordinairre Kenni made sure we were nice and happy with food. Our main agenda item was completing the self-assessment for LTA's upcoming accreditiation program. 2x4 ready? Okay, it wasn't that bad.
The next afternoon, with the few of us that remained, we went for a little hike. We drove up the beginnings of the famed Linville Gorge and hiked the Pinchin trail down about halfway through some recent burns.
The sun was gorgeous, although it was still cold. For some reason I was harassed about my ability to climb out the fastest. We were back in Charlotte around 5:30. Good times!
Complete photos from event
2 days ago