Tag Archives: North Carolina

Surviving Snow in the Mountains!

Remember folks, we moved here from Florida. 18 inches of snow is a big deal for us thin-blooded flatlanders. Back in December of 2010, I shoveled snow for what I thought was the last time. We were leaving to go live on a boat in never-ending warmth. I swore I’d never shovel snow again.

I was wrong.

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Yup, we shoveled that driveway by hand. We put the car in the garage for the duration of the storm.

We lost power briefly on the first morning of the event. I dragged the generator out of the garage, ran an extension cord into the cabin and plugged in necessary items. Out space heater needs electricity, also the refrigerator, coffee pot, and some lights. It all worked fine. We even had cable TV. The power came back on and stayed on thereafter. At least we got a good trial run for future outages.

We stayed warm and enjoyed the beauty of winter that we hadn’t seen in a long time.

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The creek in front of our house.

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The view from the top of our driveway. We walked up to get this pic. Still haven’t tried to drive out two days later.

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Those odd-looking lumps are stacks of firewood.

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The first morning after it started we had 15 inches. Another 3 inches fell overnight.

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We used to sing “Knee Deep in the Water Somewhere.” Welcome to the mountains, Kim.

It’s not even winter yet, but here in western North Carolina, we’ve gotten a good dose. We lived! There are still many days left before spring, but so far we’re enjoying the cabin life. Check back with us when winter is over.

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The Cascades

Jeffress Park, Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Nice little park with ample parking, picnic tables, and restrooms. The trail is well-worn and obvious. It’s 90% easy to make the half-mile hike to the falls. The last few hundred feet is a stone stairway with a rickety handrail here and there. Not bad going down but my knees got to burning on the way back up. It’s impossible to capture the entire cascade in one photo, but there’s an overlook at the top and another further down.

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The drive along the Parkway is a pleasant one with several overlooks.

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Below is the best shot I could get of the Cascades.

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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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