Quiet Day at Home

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Another really nice day. Love the little cooler weather. Still really humid. We started the day with walking 3 miles and ended the day with another 3 miles. In between – not much people would find very interesting. It was a day of cleaning FRED, cleaning house and washing clothes. Going to Tuscaloosa tomorrow so maybe that will be a little more interesting. See you tomorrow.

Surprise Reunion

Monday, August 28, 2017

Surprise reunionToday was a nice late summer day with cooler than usual temperatures. We had several threats of rain but only a couple drops ever hit the ground. We started the day early heading into Trussville to start the errands for the LOLs (Little Old Ladies}. We went to the assisted living facility to check in on Aunt Jean, then four stores and back to Aunt Jean’s and home. By then Randy (Max’s brother) and Debra had arrived and little later Marsha (Max’s sister) arrived. It was a neat surprise for Max’s mother to have all three of her kids here today. All the kids went to Oneonta to run more errands, back home for some maintenance at Helen’s. Randy and Debra then headed back to SC and we arrived back home exhausted. Another good day.

In case you were wondering how fast kudzu grows, it grew over halfway across our driveway in a week.
Oh, in case you were wondering how fast kudzu grows, this vine grew over halfway across our driveway in a week.

Leaving Standing Indian

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ready to rollThis morning was another cool morning and if felt so good to get a little walking in before completing our departure checklist. It’s with regret that we had to leave Standing Indian. Such a beautiful, peaceful place. Loved the hiking. Loved the waterfalls. We really hope to return here – maybe in the spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom. Don’t think we will have time to make it this fall, although it would be great to see the leaves.

We had a very uneventful drive back to Alabama. We have started the unloading but will have to work on that some more tomorrow. We did get to meet up with Barry and Donna and walk this afternoon. It was great to have a little time to catch up with them. Hope everyone has a great week.

Another Day, Another Mountain

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Some of the leaves are already beginning to change

It was another cool morning, almost fall-like. The day was the same with the high of 67 degrees on the mountain and 70 in the campground. Blue skies interrupted by some scattered clouds. With the leaves already beginning to change – nice red leaves already – we really felt like autumn is approaching. Great hiking weather.

We decided to stay one more day so that we could hike one more mountain. We hated to leave without hiking the campground’s name sake, Standing Indian Mountain. We could have hiked from Rock Gap where we completed yesterday’s hike but the sign said hiking the Appalachian Trail from there would give us an 18.3 mile hike. Since we would have to hike the return as well we decided we were not quite ready for that hike. We could however drive to the Deep Gap trail head on the Appalachian Trail and hike up from there. We thought that was a 5 mile hike to the summit giving us 10 miles for the day but after hiking to the summit discovered it was about 2.5 to the top. So with the added spurs we did off the trail we hiked 5 to 5.5 miles today, all on the AT. This hike was rated “more difficult” due to the increase in elevation. It was strenuous going up but much easier on the way back. We know people who have hiked the entire AT as through-hikers and others who are doing it in sections. While hiking the entire AT is truly an accomplishment, we know that is never going to be a realistic goal for us. We are however making it a goal to hike a portion of the AT in each state it passes through. Currently we only have Tennessee and North Carolina but maybe we can pick up Georgia soon. We would like to hike the southern and northern terminus of the AT some day. Anyway, today’s hike up Standing Indian Mountain was a beautiful one. Sadly last year’s fires burned on both sides of the trail much of the way up the mountain. While the fire damage is obvious, the undergrowth is making a quick return. The ferns are lush and green and everywhere. There are wonderful wild flowers lining the trail most of the way up. In many places the flowers almost touch your arms on both side as you pass. The bees are loving the flowers. The buzzing is almost unnerving although the bees seemed totally uninterested in us. Again there was rhododendrons in many areas. The ones at higher elevation were still blooming and a few had not even started. Hope they bloom soon because there were lots of red leaves at higher elevation as well. There were beautiful views from the summit as we expected. We also found a twelve year old geocache on the top. While exploring the summit some of our neighbors from the campground hike up with their two young boys. The Dad had hiked here a number of years ago and told us there was an Indian head in a rock somewhere on top. Together we found it. Neat! It was another great day in the mountains.

 

Panoramic view from the top of Standing Indian Mountain
Panoramic view from the top of Standing Indian Mountain

Goodbye to Nancy, Another “Little” Mountain, and Catch Up Day

Friday, August 25, 2017

This morning we were up by about 7:00, fixed breakfast and Nancy did the last of her packing and loaded her bike onto the rack. She was on her way about 9:30. We really appreciate Nancy encouraging us to visit Standing Indian and for being our wonderful tour guide. We will be on our own for the remainder of our stay here but she gave us multiple suggestions for additional hikes.

Today we decided to take the Long Branch Trail from the campground. It intersects the Appalachian Trail at about 2.5 miles. The rating for this hike is “More Difficult” We would agree due to the steep inclines. Once we began hiking the AT, we were primarily going across the top of the ridge and the hiking was a little easier. There was a long descent in to Rock Gap after another approximately 3 miles. We hiked to Rock Gap because that is the closest place we get a cell signal. There is just a tiny area there with 4G and 3 bars on Verizon. We needed to make multiple calls and check texts and emails. After cooling off, drinking plenty of water and making the calls we decided to hike back by road. It would have been a steep hike back up the AT and then back down Long Branch we decided we wanted to get on back to the campsite, have a late lunch and try to catch up on this blog. The hike to Rock Gap was a beautiful one through the forest. Just being in the quiet of the woods enjoying all of God’s handiwork is such a blessing. Our hike today was about 7.5 miles of pretty strenuous hiking.

Another great day in the mountains! We will be driving, instead of hiking, up to Rock Gap shortly to post the blog.

Getting caught up on the blog
Getting caught up on the blog

Waterfalls and A Mountain

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

We all slept well last night with the windows open listening to the creek rush by. A little cooler this morning and suppose to be a lot cooler tomorrow – in the 50’s – after a cold front goes through today. Really great weather. There was a chance of rain today but we never saw it.

After breakfast Anne’s cousin Nancy offered to take us on a waterfall tour in the Nantahala National Forest. We always enjoy waterfalls so we were all far it. We left the campground continuing on east on 64 through Franklin.

Cullasaja Gorge
Cullasaja Gorge

From Franklin 64 turns into a Scenic Byway leading to Highlands. This section of 64 definitely qualifies to be labeled a scenic byway. It was an absolutely beautiful drive through the Cullasaja gorge. We had to make several stops for pictures. So very pretty. You know we love funny name places. We stopped at one water fall visible from the highway called Bust your Butt Falls. It looked like you could if you weren’t real careful. Next stop was at Dry Falls which was anything but dry. It was a short walk from the highway down some steps and a boardwalk. It’s called dry falls because you supposedly can walk behind the falls and stay dry. Not when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. Next was Bridal Veil Falls, another falls right beside the highway but lighting was poor for pictures so we stopped back by on the way home and got some good pictures. We did a driving tour of Highlands. Really pretty little town with neat little stores and gorgeous landscaping. Glenn Falls was multi-layered and required a good deal of somewhat strenuous hiking, but worth the work.

 

 

We stopped at Whiteside Mountain and had a quick picnic lunch before starting the hike up the mountain trail. Fortunately we had Nancy for tour guide because here she told us we should take the strenuous way up, with lots of steps and roots and steep climb. The sign said to take the more gentle incline from old road bed up the mountain. Nancy definitely knew the best way because the “strenuous” route on the way down would have been really hard on the knees. It was about a four mile round trip.

 

 

Smallest Post Office
We also found this famous historical site on our scenic drive back to the campground

We traveled on to Cashiers and took another wildly scenic, curvy road back to Highlands stopping at another waterfall or two on the way back. Driving that road also gave us a great view of Whiteside Mountain from below and made it obvious where it got it’s name. Wonderful day of waterfalls and scenic beauty. Thanks Nancy for being our tour guide.

More Waterfalls and A Different Mountain

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Today we all slept in a little. The morning temperature was 54 degrees so Nancy said she wanted to just stay in her tent in her sleeping bag. We can understand because we were in the motor home with the windows open and we wanted to stay in bed too. After we had a little lazy morning we decided to do some more waterfalls close by Standing Indian. Nancy had planned to leave today so we didn’t need to make it another long day.

We left the campground going in the opposite direction on Standing Indian Campground Road following the headwaters of the Nantahala River. The road changed to dirt and gravel. Shortly we stopped at Laurel Falls. Lots of things around here are named Laurel something because of all the mountain laurel in the woods. Along with the mountain laurel there was also lots of rhododendron in the woods around Laurel Falls.

 

 

Next stop was Mooney Falls. Here there is Upper and Lower Mooney Falls. All the water falls we have seen have been really nice. Some larger than others but each very pretty in their own way. And the hikes to the falls were also a real treat. We love the mountains. There is so much rhododendron in the forest here that we are going to have to come back when it is in full bloom. We have seen some random blooms but most are long gone. We understand that June is the month to really see the forest in full bloom. Must look at next year’s calendar.

 

 

After Mooney, we drove up some steep inclines to Albert Mountain. Here we hiked about two miles up Albert Mountain to the fire tower. The last portion, the steep part, is also the Appalachian Trail. The views from top of Albert were beautiful. The sky was so blue and mostly clear, you could see a very long distance.

 

 

Panaoramic view from the fire tower
Panaoramic view from the fire tower

It was getting late and Nancy hadn’t started packing so we headed back to the campground arriving about 2:30. Nancy started packing which took longer than she had thought. Anne cooked some dinner and we tried to help Nancy get ready. The tent was wet from last weeks rains so we had to lay it out in the sun to day. Later Nancy decided to cook us another cobbler since she had the ingredients and this was her last night. Apple, pineapple, carrot cake cobbler. Didn’t know about that combination before cooking but it was very tasty.

 

 

Finally about 7:00 Nancy agreed that it was really too late for her to head for Atlanta so after getting everything packed into her Flex, she agreed to spend the night in Fred and head home in the morning. It was another really nice day, but as Nancy says, “any day in the mountains is a good day.” We AGREE!