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 > The Great Kid Escape (repost)

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kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 09/22/17 09:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Back in 2011, I did the below trip report with links to a web page that is now defunct. Since there aren't a lot of reports for the south east, I went through the trouble of reloading the pics to the image server with hope they won't disappear again. Besides, always nice to look back at the older trips, especially when still enjoying the same camper.

=================================

What do kids do during the summer time - they go off to camp. However, for a change, my kids went as volunteers so it didn't cost me anything. Now, what to do with a week of free time - go camping and drag the wife along. This time though, I didn't give her a choice as I never asked her if she wanted to go, but just stated we were going camping while the kids were at camp. Her only request, take her someplace cool. Since she is still getting used to the TC, campgrounds were chosen to make things a little more pleasant for her.

Since the kids were at horse camp, I wanted to stay somewhat close to home, so I chose one of my favorites places, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Finally, since it was Friday evening, chose Crabtree Falls CG (mile post (mp) 340.3). This campground is usually not busy, doesn't have a problems with TCs parking in the tent sites, and most sites are level. It is also one of the quietest and laid back campgrounds on the parkway. So therefor, my favorite. After a quick stop for Outback in Asheville, dodging a few downpours, we finally arrived around 7pm. Settled in for a mild night with some cards and Rumikube.

For our first day, we decided to head back south along the BRP to visit Craggy Pinnacle (mp364.2). The trail is listed as moderate at 0.73 miles each way. Wonderful part was the Mountain Laurel was in full broom.

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About 1/2 way up the trail, there is a lovely rock to take a break. Or you can make the switchback and then walk out on a flat rock for taking in some wonderful views.

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Finally at the top, have a picnic and soak up the sites as you have almost a 360 degree view. Parkway to the north:

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Parkway to the south and the Craggy Pinnacle Visitor Center:

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On the way back down, wife wanted a picture of me in the tree. While I don't have a real problem going bald, I don't like seeing pics of it. Finally figured out how to solve the problem.

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With a late start and enjoyable hike, it was time to head back towards the campground again. However, still early enough that we decided to make the detour and visit Mt Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 ft. On the way in, my wife saw the restaurant, but I drove on by with the promise to stop on the way out. Upon our arrival to the peak, we could see the rain and hear some very distant thunder but decided to make the peak for a quick peek.


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The short hike really put the appetite in our bellies so was glad to reach the restaurants before the storm. Usually, I'm on the cheap side, but for some reason I went with the baked trout, most expensive thing on the menu at $16. Boy was I surprised when the waitress brought out a 14" gutted and beheaded trout. Cooked to perfection as was the corn bread and cole slaw. So we had a wonderful dinner while watching the storms roll by.

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Stuffed and tired, we again returned to Crabtree Falls for a second wonderful night. In the morning, I decided to let Linda sleep in while I made the mile hike DOWN to Crabtree Falls. NC Waterfalls said the best time to see the falls was at sunrise, but this confused me as I thought the falls would be into the sun. Upon my arrival, realized the falls wasn't where I thought they were and the am was perfect. As was my timing since I arrived just as the rising sun hit the top of the falls. It was at the bottom of the falls as I left, giving plenty of opportunities to play with the camera and angles.

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Linda was just starting to wonder where I was when I made it back to the TC. So we picked up the leveling blocks and started north on the BRP. First stop of the day was the Museum of North Carolina Minerals (mp 331). A nice little museum explaining the minerals in the area.

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After a short little leg stretch, we next headed up to Linville Falls (mp 316.3). There is a campground here but it tends to be a bit busy and noisy on the weekends. I let Linda decide how far and where we stopped.

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During our two nights stay at Crabtree Falls, we did have a couple of thunderstorms roll through the area. Found some evidence of the power of lightening when I noticed this strike. From experience cutting trees on our farm, I could tell from the sap that this was from one of those storms. This tree was about 80 feet tall and about half way up, a third of the trunk was blown out for 15 feet. Just glad I wasn't here on the trail during the storm.

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Our third night was spent at Julian Price CG (mp 295). We did run into Blowing Rock for groceries, but not finding a store or restaurant we were interested in, we headed back for a quiet night. One huge accomplishment here was I convinced DW to take a shower in the cramped bathroom. While it wasn't enjoyable, it did prove it was possible and an alternative to a hotel room.

In the morning, we decided we had enough of the BRP, so headed down hill into Boone, a great place to stock up if traveling the parkway. It is only about 7 miles down to Walmart, Lowes, and about anything else you need. After stocking up, we headed north finding our way on the smaller roads to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. We had planned on spending the night, but it was still early and the sticker shock of $30/night gave us second thoughts. We settled for taking in a few views and the visitor center.

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Doing my good dead of helping a friend out.

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We decided next to head over to Damascus, VA and try to catch the Virginia Creeper Trail. The VCT is a 17 mile, all downhill railroad bed converted to trail. Numerous bike rental stores which includes transportation to the top. It was too late, so headed back up to Beartree Campground for a nice fire and quiet night. Campground was much nicer and $10 cheaper than the state park. We also decided to take advantage of the nice hot showers, a nice change from our cramped bathroom.

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In the morning, we headed down to do the VCT. Be forewarned, you climb about 1,700 feet plus the upper end of the trail is in the shade, so the temps drop about 10 degrees. If comfortable in T-shirts and shorts at the bottom, you may want to carry a jacket for the first section. The trail can be done in about 2.5 hours, but plan on 4 - 6 hours to really enjoy the trail.

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At the end of the trail, you are back at the bike rental places and several restaurants. While Linda was having a nice soup, we picked Roam Mtn State Park in TN. While driving over to the park, I kept teasing Linda about the great trout at Mt Mitchell. When we pulled into the SP, we didn't really like it. Linda asked "How quick to Mt Mitchell?" When I convinced her we could make it with plenty of time to spare, it was pedal to the floor mat and off we went. 1.5 hours later we were back for seconds on the trout topped off by a third night in Crabtree Falls CG (see told you it was my favorite).

This would be our last night on the parkway with a leisure drive home the next day. Though the kids were still at camp for three more days, I thought I had to get back to work though it turned out I could have taken the last two days of the week off. Oh well, I'll be back as it's one of the closest places with such beauty that I just can't get enough.

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References:
NC BRP Hiking Guide
North Carolina Experiences by Milepost
NC Waterfalls Guide


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
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jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 09/22/17 10:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think I remember it, but still, great TR!


'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 Dbl Slide, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Air Bags, Hankook DH-01 225/19.5 Fs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.


cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Posted: 09/22/17 10:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is a 'great escape' alright. Thanks for doing all work to report -- with permanent(?) pictures this time. Great looking country there.


Cal


c.traveler2

Moreno Valley,Ca.

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Posted: 09/24/17 12:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice job on restoring that TCTR.


2007 F-250 4x4 /6.0 PSD/ext cab/ 2020 Bunduvry

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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 09/24/17 01:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good trip reports with restored picture links make good memories.
I think I recall the humming bird.
I hope you're getting new adventures in too.
Take care,,,


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GoinThisAway

middle TN

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Posted: 09/25/17 07:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I remember that one! And a nice trip it was y'all had.


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