Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NC Mountains Vacation Part 1

This vacation has been a long time coming in two ways. First we wanted to wait till the kids were a certain age before we began to camp with them, we deemed this to be when they were out of diapers and could hike sufficiently. We decided that this was the year for us to begin (and continue) our camping adventures. Second, we decided to forgo a vacation last year in order to pay off all our debt. That mission was accomplished in the spring and we had saved up enough cash to be ready to VACATE!!!

Our destination was the Asheville, NC area. July 18 - 21 were to be spent north of Asheville exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. While the 21-25th were to be spent south of Asheville exploring the many natural and not so natural attractions in that area. Part 1 documents our trip during from the first half of the trip where we camped in the Pisgah National Forest's Black Mountain Campground.

The campground was awesome, and in retrospect we wish we had spent the entire time there due to the nice site, flat road, for kids riding bikes and the cool temperatures. We were still at a pretty high elevation although we were right next to the South Fork of the Toe River and it was very comfortable. Best of all, no annoying biting bugs!!! Never applied any spray! Whoo hooo!

Our site at Black Mountain Campground. Directly behind our site is the South Fork of the Toe River. It sang us to sleep for three nights.

The kids and I wading in the creek behind our campsite.

Brenna's first camp friend, Cheyenne, with the Red Spotted Newts she had caught.

Turks-Cap Lily grows all along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hiking up to the summit of
Mt. Mitchell. There were no other clouds except the one at the top, park employees said you can only get a clear view 2 out of 10 days.
I enjoyed being in the clouds and watching them swirl around us. Really the only time you are truly in the clouds without being in a plane.

Due to the high levels of moisture, everything is green. Mt. Mitchell averages over 100 inches of snow a year and the record high temp is 81 F!!

Low clouds zoomed through the air above us.

The forest on top of the mountain is dominated by spruce and fir trees, which gave off a wonderful balsam fragrance throughout our hike.
The view from our table at the highest restaurant east of the Mississippi.

Mt. Michell is in the Black Mt. range, which is only 15 miles long.

A bumble bee imitator with his prey, a real bumble bee in his mouth.

A snail eating a millipede. Who knew??

Crabtree Falls.

One of the many overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Roaring Fork falls, not far from our campsite off an old logging access road.

Heading to our next campsite south of Asheville on the Blue Ridge, there were many tunnels, we went through over 20.

Brenna and Brayden enjoying their folk toys from Folk Art Center along the parkway near Asheville.
One of the highlights of this part of the trip, for which there was no photographic documentation was an afternoon spent swimming in the Toe river downstream from our campground in a deep hole, we saw many fish including Brook and Rainbow trout. I love swimming in streams, so much more fun than pools and even lakes.
Stay tuned for part 2, it takes forever for me to upload these photos on a dial up connection so it may be a day or so.


chisato said...

What a beautiful place! Looks like the kids had a great time, Mom and Dad too. Makes me miss the mountains!

Brook said...

Looks like you guys had a blast! I can't wait to hear more and see more photos!