Tag Archives: Log Cabin Life

Banner Elk Breeze is now Available

 

Breeze escapes his demons in Florida by moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He and Brody are settling into their new life when he stumbles onto a plot of marijuana plants on public land. Knowing a thing or two about growing weed, Breeze befriends the mysterious mountain man tending to the crop.

When his new friend is killed, he tries to help law enforcement solve the crime. When the authorities prove reluctant, he is forced to take matters into his own hands. In the process, he transforms from boat bum to a true man of the mountains.

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Cabin Crafts

We were in Lowe’s in Banner Elk and stumbled onto a deal on lawn and garden stakes. They were selling 24 pointed stakes for $2.99 to make way for winter and seasonal goods. We bought all they had!

We fiddled around with a few different ideas then dug into constructing, staining, and painting a few projects.

Below was our first effort, a Betsy Ross flag:

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Then we threw together this little rustic star:

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I decided I needed a kindling box:

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Then Kim decided she wanted a boot tray:

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That’s it so far, but we figure a long, cold winter will spur us to new projects. Still have plenty of those stakes left. I’m thinking a Christmas Tree.

Any other ideas on how we can use these to make cool stuff?

 

 

Otter Falls, Very Cool

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The trail debuted in summer 2015, and in 2017 an observation deck has been built to offer wonderful views of Otter Falls. This moderately strenuous hike starts from a trailhead parking area at 825 Skyland Drive and descends to scenic Otter Falls on Valley Creek. The 0.6-mile hike to the falls creates a round trip of about 1.2 miles.

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You can view the Falls from several different vantage points, including a viewing platform that is very close.

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The path is graded, relatively gradual, and has a smoothed surface—but it is steep in spots. The hike descends about 230 feet to the falls—so you will have an identical climb back to your car. Sturdy hiking boots or shoes are recommended. Don’t forget to dress properly and bring plenty of water when going on a hike!

The trailhead parking area is at 825 Skyland Drive. There is room for four cars, five if everyone cooperates. There are no facilities.

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After you enjoy your time at the falls and along Valley Creek, it’s time to walk back out and UP to your car. I’m not in the best climbing shape, and the return trip was a challenge. There are a few benches along the way if you need to stop and take a break.

The Town of Seven Devils didn’t designate this hike as “Difficult”, instead they chose a different word . . . Strenuous.

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We were really happy when we made it back to the car. Otter Falls was well worth the effort.

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One Month in the Mountains

We left our boat and the liveaboard life and moved into a log cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains on August 1, 2018. What a transition! We left the beaches to live near Beech Mountain, (and Sugar Mountain, and Grandfather Mountain, etc.) Our cozy little cabin in on McGuire Mountain Road, high above the lovely little town of Banner Elk, North Carolina.

We’ve been busy getting our new home in order and adapting to our new lifestyle. I’ve been splitting and stacking wood in preparation for winter. Kim has been crafting and cooking in a real kitchen. Although we thoroughly enjoyed our time living on a boat in Florida, I have to say we are now Living Large in a real house.

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We’ve explored nearby waterfalls and done a little hiking. Still trying to get our mountain legs.

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The weather has been outstanding. I think the highest temperature we’ve seen is 80 degrees, but mostly it tops out in the mid to upper 70’s, in August. Nights see low 60’s or upper 50’s. We’ve been sleeping with the windows open. The sound of the creek helps put us to sleep.

The air and water are so much cleaner than in Florida. The humidity is not an issue, although we’ve gotten light rains fairly often. We feel better physically and mentally. No stress!

Now we realize that winter will be a challenge for us thin-blooded Floridians. Check back with us in January.

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Crab Orchard Falls

Just four miles from our cabin there are some little-known falls, Crab Orchard. You won’t find it on Google Maps. If you want to visit, look for the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Pull into their parking lot and pay attention to the signs for “Waterfall Parking.”

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Here’s the deal; Although the hike in is only half a mile, it’s a steep climb. The first .4 miles is on a cleared path that just keeps going up, up, and up. The last .1 is a steep downward drop to the base of the falls, and a bit on the rough side. Don’t try it if it’s wet.

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You can’t get lost!

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Just as you approach the bottom, there is a rickety wooden walkway that’s seen better days. Be careful.

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It’s a beautiful little spot down there, with a small pool and various branches of cascading water.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb those big rocks and view the upper part of the falls, or backtrack a bit and follow a trail up higher on the mountain.

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It’s cool for us to have such a place so close to home. Might pack a lunch next time. The hike is a bit on the strenuous side, but it’s a rewarding one. Not long, just steep. Coming down was very easy.

Crab Orchard Falls, Banner Elk, North Carolina

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Where’s The Damn Waterfall? (A true story of bumbling about in the woods).

Kim and I took a nice country drive to Laurel Creek Falls today. At least we thought we were at the right place. We pulled off the road at an obvious parking space, but there were no falls. We poked around and found an extremely steep path down to the stream’s edge. It was well worn, and there was nothing else obvious in the area. Kim could not climb down. I went ahead and scrambled down the rocks and tree roots to the bottom.

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I soon ran out of dirt to step on and resorted to rock hopping, until I came to an intersection in the stream. One branch ran under the road.

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I didn’t want to get my shoes soaked so I didn’t take that route. Instead, I climbed up the hill by the side of the bridge. It was so steep I almost didn’t make it, but there was a handy tree root right where I needed it.

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I crossed the road and saw two posts sunk in the ground for no particular reason. I thought they were trail markers. The “trail” turned out to be almost completely overgown, but I picked my way to a cliff overlooking the stream. IMG_0794

I walked on mossy slick boulders and used hanging vines to climb to the next higher rock. This was a dead end. I thought that was the falls. Climbing back up and out was even more difficult. I was seriously winded when I made it back to the road. The car was only a few hundred feet away though!

Just as I was about to cross back over the road, I saw a nice clean trail cut into the woods almost directly across from the parking area. DOH! After resting a few minutes, Kim and I returned to the trail and made an easy hike to a better section of the falls.

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Your grandma could have made this hike in street shoes. I felt pretty dumb, but at least we found what we were looking for. Beautiful spot. No other people around, but plenty of evidence that folks frequent these falls.

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Panties – for example.

Laurel Creek Falls are less than ten miles from our cabin. The main falls is only a few hundred yards off the road, but once you’re back there it’s rugged country.

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It’s well worth the visit, just make sure you find the right trail, so you don’t go bumbling about the woods like I did!

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