North Carolina

 We were worried we would not make it to the North Carolina line before dark, but we made it just in time!
 It started raining that night and continued the next morning.  Our big adventure for North Carolina was to visit theU.S. National Whitewater Center.  But we were not going to let it rain on our parade.  The rain cleared up as we got there and we had a beautiful day.
 The U.S. National Whitewater Center is like an outdoor playground for kids and adults.  It has zip lines, kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, ropes courses, and whitewater rafting!
 First up was rock climbing.
Kaitlin and Max made it to the top!
 Hailey loved it.  She has a natural instinct and completed the second hardest course.
Karlie has a fear of heights and got about half way and was good.  :)
 I tired to keep up with our little Spiderman.   But he was unstoppable.  He tried all three of the easier levels and just kept doing them over and over.  He loved getting to the top and  jumping off.
A  mom next to me remarked how fearless he is.  He strikes fear into my heart!!
 When I was planning our trip back in December, there was no age limitation on rafting.  I was thrilled that we would all be able to experience whitewater rafting in a controlled environment.  But when we got there we learned this summer they had made an age limit of 8 for the rafting because too many little ones were getting tossed out of the raft. :(  Hank was so bummed.
 But it was fun to watch them experience category II rapids!
 They have a family loop and a more challenging course with higher rapids.
 They rafted for about an hour and half...
 and all loved it!
 Such a cool place.
After we got a few pictures of them rafting, Hank and I hit the flat water where we kayaked around.
 Hank was disappointed he couldn't have his own kayak, but was content to do all the paddling.
 After the water adventures we went to the Mega Jump and Mega Zip!  Hank jumped of the  46 foot tower without a second thought.
 It took Kaitlin a bit to muster up the courage to jump but once she did, she said it was so fun!
 Karlie is very afraid of heights.  We didn't think she would be able to do this.  She stepped up and he counted and she said she couldn't do it.  Then he encouraged her and counted again and she leaped off!  I am so proud of her!
 Especially after doing it!  It is a serious mind game to tell yourself to jump off something that high.
 I was very happy to feel the harness catch my weight.  The free fall time is freaky!
 Hailey wants nothing more than to fly.  She couldn't wait and had no hesitation.
 She floated down like Tinker Bell with a smile on her face the entire time.
Max was the photographer so I didn't get him, but he too said it was hard to get yourself off the edge.
 Hailey and I were able to ride a giant zip line that is 1,100 feet long and soars over the whitewater rafting course.  Hailey and I raced.  It was awesome!
Then it was time for the ropes course, where the object is to not touch the ground.  I had to laugh at myself.  Even when I am not trying to coordinate outfits, it happens.  I am sure there is a mental disorder for this.  Maybe, OCM.  Obsessive Compulsive Matching?!
 Our family couldn't have been happier playing in the forest.
 It is the perfect place to take kids.  The kids said more than once how this place is so much better than Disneyland!
 Our final adventures were the high ropes course and canyon zip.
 The high ropes were very mentally challenging.  I don't even have a fear of heights and it was difficult.  Again, I am so proud of Karlie.  She was terrified but pushed on and completed the course.  She was very proud of herself afterwards.
 As a mom I feel like it is 4 times as stressful.  You have your own personal well being but then watching your babies up there, I felt like my heart was in my throat.  While they have harnesses on, we are wired such that watching them walk precariously 30 feet in the air, any rational logic that they would be ok even if they fell is overridden with a sense of panic.
 My smiled matched Hank when the last of my loves made it to the end!  After that we only had time to do one more zip course.  There was still mountain biking and more flat water fun to do.  But we ran out of time.  The kids said the beach at Destin, FL and this day were a tie for their favorite days of the trip.  However, they requested a return visit through Charlotte, so we could do the U.S. National Whitewater Center again!
That night for diner we had a taste of North Carolina with some local food and drink.  North Carolina is the birth place of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Pepsi, and Texas Pete hot sauce.  We had BBQ chicken, pork chops, yams, deep fried corn bread and mac-n-cheese!  This was one of our most delicious meals.  I think we will certainly try to swing back through North Carolina when we capture its neighboring states. :)

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