We took our first camping trip of 2010 two weeks ago, about a 2 hour drive into the mountains northwest of us. The site we chose was 4 miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the shadow of Mt Mitchell and Black Mountain...off of gravel roads. It's pretty remote in this part of NC, although we were close to a pretty sweet golf course!
We didn't want to brave a trip mid-summer because of the bugs here, they are pretty extreme. Chris did a backpacking trip with some friends a couple months ago and had an encounter with chiggers. They definitely overstay their welcome. No fun.
We got our tents set up and started exploring right away! Lots of new territory to check out!
We found a natural cooler for the watermelon running through our "backyard".
A mudpit for our 3 little piggies to frolick in...
And just a short hike away was a water-hole for washing up and such!
Sydney had a blast throwing rocks into the water...her favorite activity when outdoors!
We checked out some cool trails right in the campground.
Watch your step on this trail! It's an ankle twister!
But look at the cool waterfall at the top!
The next day we ventured out of the campground to some of the surrounding attractions.
We were quickly reminded that it was September 11th as we noticed the flag at half-mast at the NC Museum of Rocks and Minerals. The fog that had still not lifted that morning was very mood-appropriate.Very cool exhibits inside. The kids each picked out a souvenir rock with their own allowance, too.
We then ventured to Linville Falls. They have some pretty scenic vistas and it's a fairly moderate hike.
Here are some of my favorite folks checking out the steep drop! The rock-work was wonderful. I can't imagine how long it must've taken!
We also picked up a trail guide. He followed us from the visitors center, and stayed right next to Sydney the whole time until we got back to the parking lot. We got some rude looks from other dog owners (because he's not on a leash) as he went up and sniffed at their doggies. We had to shrug our shoulders and say, "Not our dog" more times than was really comfortable.
We stopped midday for a picnic lunch as it started to rain, but the trees kept us pretty dry.
Then we went to Linville Caverns. Not the most fantastic caves we have seen...they were pillaged during the Civil War when they were used as a hideout by defectors from both sides. But it was cool to see and hear some of the local history.
We loved the area, it felt as though we were truly on top of the world!
We drove back and forth on a 30 mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I couldn't help but keep thinking, "Until next week, Blue Ridge Parkway, until next week..."