Day 6 – Waterfalls, Wine, and BBQ

Our hike yesterday was more exhausting than we thought. It was difficult to get out of bed this morning however the prospect of seeing a beautiful waterfall got me up and at’em. We had researched to hiking trails at home ahead of time and read a few post about an enormous amount of stairs going down to the falls, so after the previous day of hiking we weren’t looking forward to more burning thighs. After seeing this waterfall, it was totally worth it!20130806-165157.jpg
The beginning of the trail.20130806-165246.jpg
A random fireplace, house seems to be missing. 20130806-165357.jpg
Oh Lawd!20130806-165443.jpg
Are they trying to scare us?20130806-165533.jpg
The view from the top. I can see why people have died, this looks like a wicked cool water slide! Who wouldn’t want to chance death and slide down that thing? 20130806-165739.jpg
There isn’t a large pool of water at the base here so I can imagine if you were crazy enough to slide down the impact at the bottom would be most unpleasant. I do not recommend doing that at all! OUCH!20130806-170021.jpg
I tried to get a good shot of bottom of the pool of water at the base. The sand here is covered with a metallic layer of ultra fine silvery mica. The rocks, roots, and trunks of trees were all covered in glitter. It was magical!20130806-170417.jpg
Those infamous stairs, we couldn’t leave without a shot of those.
On to the next waterfall. This one has two pools big enough for swimming and the surface is smooth enough to slide, safely, down into the pool.20130806-170726.jpg20130806-170749.jpg20130806-170808.jpg
Where there’s a will, there’s a way! The trees have grown around the boulders.20130806-170922.jpg20130806-170941.jpg
That’s Jacob, it was too cold for this girl to get in! I’m a weenie.
There is a video of him sliding down the lower part of this water fall but we can not add a video to the blog. We had a picnic lunch and headed back to the camper for a little nap. Then it was on to the vineyard.

Tobacco farms are everywhere in these parts. It makes a very pretty plant.

Entry gate to Shelton Vineyards.


Main building containing gift shop, tasting rooms, cellar, distillery, and processing machinery.






After the tour, we sampled everything they had to offer. Of course we bought some wine and got a good recommendation for a BBQ joint and headed there for dinner.



Almost every table ordered this Smokey Mountain delight.

Pretty site to part with!

Back at camper, we finished our night of with toasted marshmallows.

Day 5 – Cherokee, NC to Stone Mountain State Park NC

Hi there..on Day 5 we left the beautiful town of Cheokee, NC and to travel to Stone Mountain State Park in Roaring Gap, NC. We meandered down HWY 19 through the blue ridge and got onto Interstate 40. Most of the trip was interstate. We stopped in Black Mountain, NC at Phil’s BBQ pit, we saw the billboards from the interstate.20130805-181120.jpg20130805-181139.jpg
Inside the restaurant, the atmosphere was upbeat and modern. There were cool hats, pictures, license plates, and this cool hog mounted on the wall..looks like Pumpba from the lion king!
The bbq was good, not great. The meat was a little dry but the sides were good and the sauce selection was pretty cool, never seen a white BBQ sauce before..
We got back on the road and headed to Stone Mountain State Park while jamming to Courtbouillon. They’re a side project staring Wayne Toups, Steve Riley, and Wilson Savoy. These are the top cajun musicians of today. They recently won a grammy for their album, check it out its on Itunes.
We arrived in Stone Mountain with plenty of day light left. We set up the camper and put on our hiking gear and we headed to Wolf Cove Trail and Cedar Creek Trail. We made the loop up to the top of the summit and had some unbelievable views.
On the trail, we saw this huge snake. Aimee was walking up a head of me and all of sudden I heard a snakes rattle. I turned to my right and saw a 6 ft black snake coiled up about 3 feet away from me. If you know me, you know I can’t stand snakes, I probably screamed like a little girl. Thank goodness the snake slithered away!
On the Cedar Creek Trail, we were able to view Stone Mountain, check out the pictures, you can see why they call it Stone Mountain. It’s a popular place for rock climbers, but there were none today..
And we took a detour to the Moon, here’s a picture of Aimee walking on it without her astronaut helmet..
At the bottom of the trail, there was a homestead from the 1800s. There was a butcher shack, corn storage building, house with detached outhouse! We self-toured the community and the park did a really good job telling the story of life in the 1800s..

Tired and sore from the 3.5 mile hike, we went back to our campsight. We had an easy dinner, left over jambalaya and hot dog salad (aimee’s creation). We lit a fire from some wood we collected from inside of the park and had a run-in with the park ranger. Yeah, didn’t realize you weren’t supposed to collect wood from inside the park, we actually had to return it to it’s original location! Pretty crazy rules up here in Stone Mountain.


Well that’s all for now, until tomorrow, Bon Soir!

Day 4 -Bryson City and waterfalls

We had to postpone our blog until we got to a better connection. The campground’s WIFI just wasn’t strong enough and it was spotty, kicking us off in the middle of uploading pictures. Boy oh boy we sure did have a lot of pictures after this hike. The area is so gorgeous you want to capture everything, but that’s impossible and we didn’t have enough time to see half of the things I wanted to see. If you haven’t been here, I think you should! I have been here with my parents and have seen the same waterfalls already with them and even though I’ve seen them twice I would come back again. I honestly can’t say enough about how amazingly beautiful this area is.

Before we get to those pictures, we need something on our campground…Our campground was almost completely covered by trees creating the best shade with dappled sunlight. The stream running the entire property was a constant sound of rushing water over pebbles and small boulders which is an amazing sound especially to fall asleep, relaxing tranquillity. 20130804-105455.jpg20130804-105516.jpg20130804-105609.jpg20130804-105631.jpg20130804-105751.jpg20130804-105808.jpg
Good thing we have a Dodge! Thanks to my gracious parents for switching with us for this trip.
This campground was very nice especially for tenters because of the shade and sounds. You can stay along the stream or across from it, as we were, because it’s cheaper and we only had a short stay. The facilities were very well maintained. This campground reminded me of a fairy garden with its rock lined paths, lush green and white hostas, and fuzzy emerald moss meandering throughout the park.

Now back to the hike. We started our day early to beat to crowds. First stop was right up road from the campground to Mingo Falls. It was a short walk from the parking area to the falls up a lot of stairs, a great glut workout!
Still not a fan of the butt shot, Jacob!
It was soooo worth every second of claiming those stairs and Roux had a great time racing to the top. The falls were, of course, gorgeous! We took a few shots, some cheesy ones too with us posing like a little family.



Coming down the stairs, Roux just wasn’t cooperating so we went back to the camper to leave him there. Then it was off to Bryson City, NC for some more hiking and viewing 3 more falls.

This is the Tuckasegee River.

Deep Creek Campground is located just inside of the Great Smokey Mountain State Park. You can rent a tube for $3 or bring your own and cruise down the rapids. We didn’t want to take part in this activity. When I came with my family when I was in high school we did it and it was sooooo cold. I’m not a fan of cold so I didn’t really enjoy it that much but it was a cool experience.

Good thing I didn’t want to bring Roux, no dogs on the path, it would have horrible to turn around after driving all the way here.

This is Juney Wank Falls. The following are shots along the trail.






This is Deep Creek Falls.

This is Indian Creek Falls.

Cheesy Photo!
After all this walking we headed into town to explore the cute down town area of Bryson City and indulge in some yummy ice cream.