The Fall colors are still on furlough.
We drove by Roan Mountain and then down Hwy 19E toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. All the park facilities were shuttered, but at least the road was open. A little private campground at Linville Falls provided clean, hot showers but little else to recommend it. We wanted to unhook and get to a high open place to watch the meteor shower, but we stayed in our dark little hollow in a major funk. This happens to us every once in a while on a trip. We’ve learned that it will pass…
Next morning, on a high overlook in bright sun, we made our plans. The white face of North Carolina’s Stone Mountain shown in the distance, a 600 foot granite dome similar to Georgia’s Stone Mountain (without the artwork and laser show.) Here there be WATERFALLS (big Ones) and the promise of Trout.
The State Park campground was modern and well engineered. They promised us Thursday and Friday but the big stocking of trout for the start of Delayed Harvest was delayed because… well, you know.
We spent the evening trying fruitlessly to explain
American politics to some very charming New Zealanders and decided not to be lured into that discussion again. One of the great gifts of traveling in National Parks are the friendships with folks from all over the world; these brief encounters shouldn’t be squandered on talk of politics.
In the morning we fished, pleasantly, on streams carved from solid rock. There was little cover and less aquatic life excepting a huge population of pesky little minnows. In a few days the huge stocking of trout would put these guys on the run.
In the late afternoon, we had time to bag a few waterfalls starting with the 200 foot Stone Mountain Falls. We had scoffed at the size of this tiny stream as we scouted a fishing spot. We didn’t know that the water had cascaded down the sheer face of the mountain …
Where did it go?
Well, it went down these steps!
But first, a few words of caution….
There were 500+ steps and strapping young boys were supine in the grass gasping and issuing dire warnings, but Patty soldiered on, already planning the email to her cardiologist.
Seriously folks, we took it easy and saw the main falls and middle falls, but didn’t want to swim to see the lower falls. We started hiking in layers that befit our advanced age, but as we ended we were down to the shorts and tights we wore back when we WERE hikers.
This was a pretty good test for Patty’s heart; she passed without a hiccup and she was the hottest chick on the trail with Nitroglycerin in her pocket!