Wednesday, June 9

NC: Pisgah Forest

We took what is becoming an annual trip up to Brevard, NC on Memorial Day Weekend for the White Squirrel Festival in which we camp, hike, fish and actually only attend the Festival for about 2-3 hours the entire weekend. Last time, Tommy (below left) couldn't go so we took Grayson (below right) in his place and you can't hardly tell the difference in our family photos. This year both of them could go and that, my friend, was a hoot.

So we crossed the Enoree and S. Tyger Rivers, traversed hundreds of miles of interstate hwy., ate an unprecedented amount of spray cheese (another family tradition for trips), glimpsed our first view of big mountains (which elicited this from the backseat "¡Las montañas!"), crossed the N. Pacolet (at which point we heard "ewwwww! You got that nasty vinegar sausage on my capo!" "Did not!" "Did so!" "Did not!" "Did So!") and we finally began approaching Pisgah Forest, NC.
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Guitar music for the entire 4 hour drive up.
And, the grand finale', "Mom, how much farther?"
"12 miles."
"Duuuude! Let's play a G chord, nothing but a G chord for the entire next 12 miles!"
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We pulled into Cascade Lake Recreation Area (remember Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi?", think: "Camp Nazi") (those retirees take their camp security and rules very seriously) with just enough time before dark to set up three tents and unpack our vehicles. We ate some hot dogs around the fire and delved into a campfire sing-along. Check out Eva on her pink guitar! (I think she was having some string trouble)
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Morning comes early at a campground.
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The best part of camping is the awesome breakfasts.
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Laying in the tent, squinting at the daylight and smelling the camp-wide fog of bacon, eggs and coffee. -
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We had pancakes on our first morning with Tom teaching Eva how to cook on the grill. (the grill was a luxury we don't often have -- since we brought the truck pulling the canoe, we had room to bring the grill)
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We planned our day -- Tommy and Grayson would go into Pisgah Forest and fly-fish the Davidson while the rest of us would hike deep into Dupont State Forest to find both an unfished, primitive lake TroutU told me about and a hard-to-reach waterfall where Eva could splash around for a bit.
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The long walk over several creeks consisted of many games of "Pooh Sticks:"
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And poor Grampsy had to carry Eva on his shoulders a good bit. An hour later or so, we found the lake off a side trail that some of us were skeptical about.
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We sat down along the shore of the lake and taught Eva how to skip stones. We also had a break for water and dried pineapple. Yum-O. It's smart on these hikes to take a backpack with a few snacks, water, and in my case, a book and notepad. If you have a small travel pillow, take it, you might have time for a snooze at the foot of the falls before your return trip.
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We continued our hike, passing the stables (you can rent horses at Dupont), refilling our water at the stables, and soon arrived below Bridal Veil Falls and these awesome falls where Eva could splash around and I could sit and read a bit.
Be careful hiking around the wet rocks. I know it sounds simple, but several people die each year because of slippery rock related falls. And guess what? I fell. So embarrassing. I was being very careful, too, very old-lady-ish careful with the guys holding my hands. They let go and boom, I was down.
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We hiked up along the falls and stream to reach the top - Bridal Veil (picture below). We sat and ate our picnic lunch. Then I stayed there with Eva while the rest of the crew went close and hiked behind the falls, coming out on the other side. That little escapade is probably fairly safe for adults. I wouldn't take the kids back there. If they slipped and fell, they'd be going straight down the slope and into those falls at the bottom and I don't think anyone would survive that. So Eva and I stayed to the side and watched. She was not happy about this. Here's Bridal Veil Falls with the gang going behind it:
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Meanwhile..... back in Pisgah National Forest, the boys were fishing hard. While Grayson is an established fisherman, I think this was his first time fly-fishing so Tommy was trying to show him a few moves. Later, Grayson showed Tommy a few moves when they found an area of the creek where they could hop in and bounce through the rapids to land in a little pool below. It was similar to the famous Sliding Rock (pictured below), but private and wild and reckless and I could've killed them when I found out. They named it the "Bad Baby" because hitting the rocks on your bottom felt like getting spanked. We went back the next day so they could do it more and I could inspect it, but it had rained all night and the rapids were WILD. They tried to find a safe way to do it, but came up with nothing, so they stayed high and dry that day. -

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Here's Grayson at the foot of the "real" Sliding Rock.
Click here for my video on it. Sliding Rock has a lifeguard posted at the bottom and offers a bathhouse and couple of viewing platforms. There is a nice hand-railing up the side for your ascent and usually a line of people waiting to slide down. Sliding Rock has a $1. per person entry fee which is probably going up to $2-3 per person next year. There is no picnicing in this area of the park due to bear problems. Sliding Rock is safe enough for small children with swimmies or a life-jacket. You can also take a child down on your lap.
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Don't forget to take some games when you go camping. You'll have some down time in which to play, but more importantly, if it rains a lot you can play games in the tent.
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"If" it rains. (bwa ha ha ha ha ha)
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Other rainy-day activities: Brevard has a movie theatre and some shops. Hendersonville is just a 20 minute drive back east on 64 and it has a nice historic part of town with shops, a threatre and other activities around town. Flat Rock has a lot of artsy things.
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Of course I can't forget to mention the stilts. For some odd reason, my son has a pair of stilts. He says it's great exercise. I say they're dangerous. But really, they're more of what makes these guys such a hoot.
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The stilts were a big part of the trip. They roamed the campground in these stilts, getting stares and gawks from everyone. When roaming after dark, they looked like avatar monsters.
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When we popped in on the guys to check up on them, give them cold drinks, see how the fishing was going, this is what we found. :)

1 comment:

~Connie said...

So much fun! Thanks, again, for letting Tommy-stand-in go with y'all ... he had a great time (and I can see why!)