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NC hiking, before school. Real Life Photography

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In a last ditch effort to squeeze in a little fun before school starts the boys and I headed to the mountains.

Our first unplanned stop was Chimney Rock. A sign on the interstate said it was just 20 miles off of 40 and since we were in no hurry we took the exit. That 20 miles turned into 45 minutes of curves, definitely not a good idea if you have car sick capable kids. Thankfully I don't. They had fun on the road and nick- named it "snake road" for it's wickedly sharp twists and turns.

Chimney Rock was worth the drive it was exactly what all the guide books had promised There is a dark and spooky cave (ok not so spoooooky) that leads you to an elevator that takes you to the top.

 That's right this mountain has an elevator... we were all amazed.

From the top of Chimney rock you could see for miles. I'm sorry this picture looks so blue, but my children scrambling on rocks hundreds of feet above the ground had me shaking. It was a point and shoot moment no time for white balance adjustments.

If ever we return to Chimney rock (hopefully soon) I think it would be a good place for a weekend retreat. We didn't get to hike to the falls, which I hear are breathtaking. And we didn't get to go down to Lake Lure either. The town BAT CAVE is right around the corner and I am sure that has a few places the boys would like to explore.

One day I'd love to hike all or a portion of this massive cut through that goes from Georgia to Maine. In my dreamy mother haze I imagine that one day before the kids run off to college that they will want to spend time with their mother and hike for several weeks at a time. I realize that that might never happen, and at that time I will have to drag my husband out for the adventure.

FIVE months, that's how long it can take to hike the trail in entirety...

Clingmans Dome was a grueling uphill half mile walk on a paved surface. We got there around 6 in the evening and it was cool enough to require jackets.  I was surprised to see so many people there that late. I wouldn't say the park was packed, but there were enough people there that we were never alone on the paths.

Just as the sun went down we hiked back to our car. There, a pesky coyote jumped out near our car and frightened me half to death. I slid in the car and told the kids to lock the doors only to realize that they had taken off with their video camera and were running in the direction of the animal. I scrambled to grab them and noticed two other guys with cameras running to get a closer look too... what is it that drives boys right into the arms of danger?
After a day of climbing mountains, walking through streams, worrying about the kids falling off of sheer rock faces, and almost being eaten by a wild coyote (I'm sure he looked hungry)  I was exhausted. We rested out heads that night in Cherokee Village.

The next morning we went to the Cherokee Indian museum. If you are at all interested in the story of people who were here before us this is a must see attraction. There is alot to read and the kids wanted to skim through it. They museum shares the Indian story of the water beetle and how life was created on earth. It goes on to tell the gut wrenching story of the trail of tears. You will leave with a better understanding of the sacrifices and hard choices that were made by our ancestors. The collection of artifacts and engaging displays made the museum one of the best exhibits we have ever seen. On our "Like it or Leave it" list , we all agreed it was a " LIKE IT"

Before leaving Cherokee we hiked Mingo Falls..... Breathtaking! 160 stairs leads you to an easy hike towards the falls. Sidney and Zane Both said they could have stayed there forever. And I agree. It was beautiful. In that moment watching my kids skip rocks and walk across logs I was struck with awe.  I thought, what a lucky mom I am to have two of the coolest kids ever. Schools starts for us soon and teachers will get to spend the days with them but for 26 hours of driving around the state, they were 100% mine. Mine to love, to teach, and to enjoy.

 If you decide to take the same path I did here is the route we went:

64 west to Mocksville, with a stop at Ketchie Creek Bakery for car ride goodies.
40 east, to exit 73 follow that to Chimney Rock Road.

Then leave Chimney rock get back on 40, Merge onto US-74 W via EXIT 27 toward US-19/Clyde/US-23/Waynesville/Maggie Valley/Franklin/Murphy/Atlanta.
Merge onto US-23 S/US-19 S/US-74 W via EXIT 107 toward E Jones Cove.
Merge onto US-19 via EXIT 103 toward Maggie Valley/Cherokee.
Have a safe trip.

3 Responses to “NC hiking, before school. Real Life Photography”

  1. Loved the pictures and story about your can adopt me! Love Aunt Marybeth

  2. WOW, great pictures, and as always you are a great writer also, always enjoy reading your
    lines that tells of your amazing travels!

  3. Derek, Newton, and I hiked Chimney Rock when we lived in SC. So much fun!! I took my 4th graders to the museum the last year I taught in SC. Sounds like you had fun.


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