Tuesday evening, we had our craziest mountain experience yet.
Let me back up though.
Our day really started out normal and little bit under whelming. As many of you know, we work from home most days and this day in particular was a little bit slow. So, in the name of spontaneity, we decided to go house hunting. We technically aren’t in the market yet, but finding affordable, cute fixer-upper houses on Zillow then driving to them has become a really fun hobby of ours. Not only does it introduce us to the type of homes and neighborhoods we like (or don’t like!) for our future search, but its been a great way to discover the different areas of Asheville and to see new sights close by. Besides, driving in the mountains is pretty much the best.
This one house in particular was in Mars Hill. North of Asheville, it was really too far out of the way to be a main contender, but it was just too cute and was on the side of a mountain- so we couldn’t pass up this opportunity!
So, we packed up our baby, turned on some Ben Rector, and started the 40 minute drive.
My personal observation about Mars Hill- it’s really, really quiet. Once we got off the exit, we probably passed by two cars max. It may have been because it was a weekday, or maybe because we were in legit mountain countryside, but the place sure felt like a atomic bomb test site (just like in Indianna Jones 4). Ya know, empty-looking houses and abandoned cars galore.
We traveled up a steep mountain road. Really, it was beautiful, decorated with a incredible view and adorable mountain cabins. The road itself was just gravel, and just a little wider then our 1997 Jeep Cherokee. It was an adventure, though- traveling up this incredibly steep, bumpy road with a vast drop-off to our left. To be honest, I’m glad I wasn’t driving so I could actually enjoy myself!
I’d like to say that we were too caught up in our roller-coaster-like emotions & thrill to actually see the road that led to the house- but honestly, the road was impossible to see unless you were looking for it. After a very terrifying 3 point turn on top of this tiny gravel road, we slowly made our way to find the road that our GPS so adamantly claimed was there. And, oh goodness, we should have trusted our gut instinct and not gone down it. I suppose we are just naturally drawn to dangerously spontaneous ideas, so we drove our Jeff mobile down the even smaller dirt road.
Picture this: a grassy, overgrown trail with a sudden drop to your left and nothing but thorns and mountain on the right. There’s nothing but steep downhill riding for as far as you can see (which granted, isn’t very far). Deep, muddy tire tracks adorn the center. This was the road we were driving down.
In the beginning, it wasn’t too bad. It merely seemed small and overgrown, and since we tackled the up-hill gravel road, we figured that we could take this easily. We laughed both from nervousness and sheer adrenaline, driving incredibly slow and being jolted up and down from the unpaved path. However, our laughter turned into silence as the Jeep started to sway back and forth from the intense ridges and muddy surface. Jeff started expressing his nervousness to me, ‘How far away are we from the house?’ and ‘We probably should turn around.’
Before I could even pull up the GPS to see how far the house was, we jolted to a stop. Ahead of us lied a huge literal puddle of mud. Without a four wheel drive and with our relatively average driving knowledge, it would be impossible for us to pass it without getting stuck- or worse, tipping off the mountain. If I sound a little over-dramatic, let me assure you this was real life and the worst case scenario of tipping off the mountain was actually told to us by the very person who rescued our car- so I think he might know something.
So, we did what any sane person would do and attempted to turn around. Except, wait- not only was the road just too tiny, but our wheels were covered in mud and wouldn’t grip onto the road. Jeff’s attempts at backing uphill were futile, and only caused the car to literally start sliding. By this point, I took Joy out of the back seat while Jeff drove about ten feet further, hoping to find a spot that wasn’t nearly as muddy. Unfortunately, that only made it worse. The road was uphill behind us, and increasingly muddy and uphill before us. As dusk started to fall, Jeff ended up jogging a half mile ahead (while Joy and I waited not-so-patiently) to see if this muddy spot was the only one and how difficult it would be to continue forward. I am told that it was only worse.
As a last ditch effort, we tried to place sticks, bark, and anything else small enough that had traction underneath our back tires. We were hoping that maybe if we could get traction, we could back our way out the half mile we had already made it onto this road. No such luck.
Honestly, I was scared. I was terrified. We were 40 minutes from home in the middle of some of the tallest Appalachian Mountains, night was coming fast, and our car would slide anytime we had to move it. There was no way our car could be towed out of this dinky little road conventionally- a normal tow-truck wouldn’t fit on the road, let alone even make it past our car to pull us.
We grabbed anything valuable out of our car, and walked a mile back to a empty (but cute-looking) house off of the gravel road. The whole time, we were calling and texting to see if there was anyone who lived this far out who could pick us up.
I guess you can piece together the end of the story yourself. Actually, I am still slightly amazed by our community here in Asheville- multiple people called to figure out our location and, based on one message, were driving on their way to pick us up. So we made it home safely, thanks to incredible friends, and the next day Jeff hitched a ride with our Pastor to safely bring home the Jeffmobile.
I wasn’t there to witness this grand rescue, but fortunate for us our Pastor apparently enjoys(ed) mudrunning and, in the words of Jeff, ‘is a boss’ at it. They also saw the house, for what it’s worth, and it’s apparently ultra cute, which kind of makes me mad that they would allow a house that cute to be off of a terrible, unsafe road. They also got to chat a bit with a man who somehow was at the house (Jeff said you can apparently walk there from a different road??) who was saying that it actually sold, but they were trying to figure out how to get a moving truck out there.
So, eleven hundred and sixty words later, that was our Tuesday adventure (and I guess a slight look at Jeff’s Wednesday one). Easily the most scared I’ve ever been, especially because baby Joy was with us, but it’s also a super great memory I had to share. It also helped narrow down the house market for us- we do not want to live in a place we can’t even get to!
Despite how dramatic that experience was, rest assured we haven’t lost our sense of adventure yet. The very next day, we drove out to Canton to look at two other houses because we could. For the record, Canton isn’t as scary but still has some crazy roads.
What has your craziest house-hunting experience been?