We moved today from Marion, NC to Mt Airy (Mayberry) NC. No really this is the town that the Andy Griffith show was based on. He lived here till he graduated from High School. The RV park is great. The only problem is that Shawna's cell phone does not connect from the park but my old flip phone works with a booster. The truck got 11.2 mpg on the move. Not bad.
Happy birthday, Dad! Sorry, we missed being with you this year.
Above was the sunrise view from the back windows of the RV.
Visiting Grandfather Mountain again. I say again because when I was a young I visited with my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin. It was very memorable for me. It is where I lost, for the most part, my fear of heights. I forced myself to stand toe on the edge and spitting off the cliff. Well, boys do that sort of things.
The same crazy zigzagging road to the top that I remember as a child.
I did walk back out to the same spot, minus the spitting part, and we both enjoyed the visit. The one mile high bridge use to be a swinging bridge and as a child I remember it swinging wildly. Now it is a singing bridge. Still a suspension bridge but very stable by comparison. Now the metal “sings” as the wind blows through. On some of the videos we caught some of the sounds it now makes. Great views from the top of the mountain.
Of course we hiked while on the mountain. It was a 1.6 mile hike. Some was pretty steep. We climbed on top of a bolder the size of a school bus to have a great view for lunch.
They had a very pretty flower garden with butterfly houses.
Later we visited the animal habitats at Grandfather Mountain where they have several black bears, otters, and eagles. The bear encounter was great.
Housekeeping day. Laundry. Waiting for a package to arrive (thank you)... Rest and Recovery...
The plan today was a short hike and visit a very old fort. Well that expanded out to a bit more than just those.
We drove to a small town called Old Fort. The museum did not open till 2pm so we drove to the Davidson Fort. It is a simple fort constructed in 1770. The fort was used to protect against Indian attack and was used during the Revolutionary War.
After touring the fort, we drove on to hike to Catawba Falls. It is a 3 mile moderate hike to reach the bottom of the fall. We had lunch and rested for a while. The last bit of the trail is a near vertical climb to reach the above of the falls. I am not kidding it was just about nearly vertical and at two points there are ropes attached to climb up the cliff. I stopped at that point thinking I was getting pretty good pictures where I was and climbing the rest was unnecessary. Besides I did not want to break my neck.
The river had been the source of electrical power for Old Fort and along the climb we passed the old generator building and further up the dam. Originally water was funneled down from the dam through wood pipes to the generator below.
Next was the Mountain Gateway Museum. It was really nice. Being Sunday the local Folk and Mountain Music group was playing in one room. It was great!
Last we stopped to tour the Carson House. It is a guided tour through the three story home built in 1793. Unlike many museums we literally walked through and round the furniture. There were no ropes or barriers. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable about every item and the rooms along with its history. Items from the late 1700’s through the late 1800's were on display. The home had rooms that were used for the first county court in the area, It was also a stage coach stop and a boarding house.
Lake James Trails
We hiked a combination of trails along Lake James. The lake is large and very popular for boating, skiing and fishing. The trail was 3.5 mile loop.
There were a few interesting things along the way. Mushrooms seem to grow very large up here. Some have been the size of dinner plates but most are only about 6 inches across.
A very small deer, likely a young male, was walking across the trail. He stood about 20 feet away and watched us for a while. The video is not great but near the end I was able to get a full view of him.
I have a few pictures of the lake and trail. Later we stopped at an over look where you can see the end of Linville Gorge and some of the mountains.
The hike to Linville Falls and the overlooks was just 2 miles but with really great views of the falls. These falls are different from most. The river twists and turns as it falls down to the pool below.
The trail passed two trees growing on top and around a bolder along the trail. Pictures do not do justice to how impressive it was to see.
Then we enjoyed lunch high over the falls.
Later we toured Linville Falls Caverns. A creek runs through the cavern. It was small but still fun. It is known for having trout visible in the stream inside the cavern. We were told that a family of otters had discovered and eaten all but one just last month.
We stopped off to get some local cheese and a cup of ice cream. It is a family owned farm and store. They milk their own cows and produce the cheese and ice cream on site. The beautiful cows were in the field next to the store.
And we ended the day back in Marion NC at the Green-space. It is a path along the Catawba River.
Total of the hike and walk along the river was 4 miles.
For the most part we stayed home and other than a little housekeeping and some minor repair work to the RV we just relaxed.
A recovery day.
After the hike yesterday we decided to take time to recover. Off to the store for some milk and buy some other things we need.
We also looked around next door at the Camping World. They have a huge number of RV's. Some are really nice but we still like our little portable home.
Going to Mount Mitchell
We drove to the top of Mount Mitchell which at 6,684 feet is the highest point in North Carolina. When we left the RV Park it was 80 degrees at the top of the mountain it was 58.
From the RV Park we needed to drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the road directly outside the RV Park was the most direct route. In the mountains never assume that the direct route is a good way to go. The road was laid out by an insane person. We thought we had seen sharp “wave to yourself as you go by” curves. Nope! Now we have. They were the worst yet. I guess I should have just stopped the car and turned around when the warning signs against trucks using the road started showing up. The one that really stood out was the information sign that said the nick name of the road is the ‘Devil’s Whip’.
The road is very popular with bikers. It is considered a badge of honor to have driven it. On some curves the speed limit was 10 mph. We averaged 20 mph over the 12 miles. At one point the road turned so sharp and was so steep that the trucks tires slipped. This is a paved road and the curves were incredibly banked. I should have setup the GoPro to record this drive.
Shawna says that she has officially been on a roller coaster ride in a truck.
Once we reached the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway things calmed down including the road. We stopped at several overlooks before reaching the Mount Mitchel State Park entrance. At the top we walked to the observation tower.
The hike around the mountain started near the top. It was down one half of the mountain and over to a ridge and then back up. We passed through thick pines and other trees. Large areas where it was dark from the coverage but the floor of the forest was covered in thick moss. Then as we got lower in elevation the forest changed and there were large areas of Blackberry’s and Blueberry bushes. The total of today’s hike was over 3.5 miles and rated as Strenuous. Since a large amount of the trail was like climbing a rock ladder, I agree. The elevation change was about 1000 feet down and then back up to the top.
The drive down in fast forward. Just for fun.
We decided that we would be relaxing tomorrow.
We moved from Sylva NC to Marion NC. Not a long drive but this RV park puts us in a central location to go to several State Parks.
The majority of the highway was down hill so we got a break on out fuel. We got 11.5 mpg. Wooo! Hooo! :P We did come down to our lowest altitude for a while 1279 feet.
The RV park is really nice and as you can see not exactly crowded. There are several other RV's but lots of empty space.
After a day of moving we enjoyed watching the sunset.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...