Tag Archives: North Carolina

Winter Woes?

We understood our biggest challenge after moving from Florida to the Blue Ridge Mountains would be adjusting to the cold. It really hasn’t been that bad. We survived our first big snowfall in December without any major difficulty.

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It was kinda fun actually, except for the shoveling. Bitter cold set in after that and we spent a lot more time indoors than we are used to.

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It’s been great for my writing. It’s quiet and peaceful here, with few distractions. My biggest chore has been keeping the fire going.

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As winter draws to an end here in late February, the most persistent downer has been non-stop rain. This area had record rainfall in 2018, and the new year has been just as wet so far. It’s gray, it’s cloudy, it’s foggy – and we’re ready for spring. We’ve haven’t seen more than a fleeting glimpse of sunshine in over a month. It’s always gloomy.

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If it’s not fog, it’s clouds. We live amongst the clouds these days.

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Don’t get me wrong, we love our little cabin. It’s cozy and comfortable so being indoors is not a punishment. We’ve made it our home and we’re quite happy with it. We could just use a little sunshine right about now.

I’ll raise one glass to our friends in Florida, and another to all the white-skinned, gloomy folks of the High Country. Spring is right around the corner! (and we don’t have hurricanes).

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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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