Along Blue Ridge Parkway mileposts 296-297 is Julian Price Memorial Park, which houses the 47-acre Price Lake and easy 2.7 mile loop hike. We hiked this in June 2016 and highly recommend it if in you’re in the area looking for an easy hike or camping at the nearby Julian Price Park campground. The hike winds through dense foliage along the lakeside and offers intermittent peeks at the water and the mountains beyond. Boaters were out in kayaks and canoes enjoying the beautiful weather. The northwestern section of the loop follows the Blue Ridge Parkway along a short bridge and ducks into the campsite. I’ve passed by this lake in the fall and the changing leaves are gorgeous, so I would especially recommend this hike then.
So my first experience at the Arnold in Columbus, Ohio was amazing.
We left Boone, NC at around 12:45 in the afternoon and started on the 6 hour drive to Columbus. My girlfriend and my future roommate Hunter came along for the trip. The scenery along the route made me realize how beautiful the eastern United States is compared to where I used to live in Minnesota.
Around 7:15 pm we made it to Ohio State University and caught a Buckeye hockey game. It was fun being right at ice level but they lost to Michigan State! (Insert eye roll here).
After the game we got to the hotel and settled in for the night. I’m not gonna lie, I had trouble sleeping because I was so damn excited for what I knew was coming the next day.
Promptly at 6:30 am I woke up, got in the shower, brushed my teeth and got ready for the day. Then I woke up everyone else and they got ready, as well. We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and made our way to the Columbus Convention Center.
I can’t really explain what I felt walking into the Expo floor. I felt like a kid seeing the candy store for the first time. Honestly, I felt really overwhelmed. The amount of people there right when they opened was more than I would have expected and I knew that there would only be more as the day progressed.
The first day (Saturday) we went around to the booths and picked up all the free stuff we could get our hands on (as any person would have). I was able to meet Mat Fraser, Rich Froning, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Josh Bridges, at the Rogue booth (and Margaux Alvarez, Cole Sager, Dan Bailey, Matt Chan). As the day went on I met 3x Mr. Olympia, Jeremy Buendia. The highlight of the day was meeting Aubrey and Nika (Aubernutter and FitNika) randomly walking through the expo. I’m a really introverted person so I don’t talk a whole lot but I was able to get a video of them saying hi to my friend Caitlyn who freaked out when she watched the video. I’ve followed Aubrey for a few years now and she’s one of the biggest inspirations. As weird as that might sound, I found myself laughing at her videos and snapchats when I first moved to North Carolina after the everything good in my life got ripped away from me. Anyways, enough with the sappy shit, after the expo I took my girlfriend and Hunter to Raising Cane’s for the first time and I think they both fell in love with the chicken fingers. There was only one Raising Cane’s in Minnesota but I would drive an hour to eat there when I was living in Rochester.
Sunday, the last day of the expo, felt like it was going to be an eternity because I was NOT looking forward to the 6 hour drive home after being on our feet all day. We waited in line to meet Christian Guzman for almost two hours and it was well worth the wait. Christian was by far one of the friendliest and welcoming personalities we met that weekend. He took the time to ask where I went to school, how long the drive was, and personal questions about myself. I was surprised at how nice this guy actually was. So fast forward a few hours, we ended up getting kicked out of Steve Cook’s meet and greet line because he had a strict schedule and was going to leave before we got to the front of the line. MAJOR BUMMER. But I suppose it wasn’t all terrible because I got to meet Taylor Chamberlain. The main reason I wanted to go was to meet the Live Fit crew. I can’t remember a whole lot of the interactions I had because I was so star struck meeting them. But I do remember talk to Nick Dompierre for a few minutes, reminiscing on how I used to watch his video parts before I would go out and skateboard during my high school days. But the atmosphere at Live Fit was amazing compared to any of the other booths we visited. Hey genuinely enjoyed what they were doing and it definitely showed.
As we walked out of the convention center, we all decided that we would be back in 2018. The drive home sucked and I didn’t get into bed until 3 am and had morning classes on Monday but I’ll deal with being tired in exchange for that amazing experience.