|Well, summer has arrived in the last week or so. Up until then the weather had been really great with sunny skies and temps in the low 80's. Just can't complain.....after all it is summertime in the south!
We have been out and about in the upcountry of South Carolina and North Carolina the last couple of weeks. When we decided to stay in the southeast this summer it was so we could explore what is in our own backyard.....and we sure have done that here!
Brevard, NC is about 30 miles north of Palmetto Cove RV Park via US276. This road crosses over a range of mountains up to Caesars Head State Park. This section of 276 makes the road from Top of Georgia to Hiawassee look straight! We would not tow the Airstream across this section of 276.....But we did visit Caesars Head State Park and from the overlook you look out across the Blue Ridge Mountains and into the Table Rock Cove. Down in the cove you can clearly see our campground! To the right is the Table Rock Reservoir and Table Rock Mountain. From the overlook you also look out over the Dismal Forest, a thick wooded area of hardwoods. If you looked straight down from the overlook you would see the 2,000 foot drop from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the valley below....no foothills or gradual drop....just 2,000 feet straight down! The blue haze in the pictures are present most of the time....thus the name Blue Ridge Mountains. When we left the campground it was already in the upper 80's....at Caesar Head it was in the 70's.....nice. Besides the overlook there are picnic tables and a nice visitor's center and gift shop.
The drive to Brevard is really a pretty drive. You will pass by the entrance to DuPont Forest...we did not visit this trip.....and on into Brevard. We stopped at the visitor's center and picked up some information and drove through the downtown area. It looks like it would be a fun place to browse through some shops and stop and have some lunch. But today we are headed further north into Pisgah National Forest.
Our first stop was Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. There is wildlife exhibit here as well as a fish hatchery. Also lots of fly fishing going on......in the river next to the parking lot. This location was a CCC camp in the 1930's when many of the trails, roads and bridges where built here.
Next stop was Looking Glass Falls. With parking right on the road it was easy to get to and see. We walked down to the first viewing area.....and of course back up. It is said this is one of the most photographed falls in the Pisgah National Forest. It was lovely to look at and we enjoyed our stop here.
It was getting late as we passed Sliding Rock so did not stop. This is a fee area and a popular swimming area. Maybe next time.
Our next stop was The Cradle of Forestry. As I said, it was getting late and when we arrived it was about 4PM.....and they close at 5PM. It seems all the visitors centers are closing a 5PM,,,,they use to stay open later in the summer. So we didn't have enough time to explore the exhibits and walk the trail. We did watch a 30 minute movie on the conservation of the forest and how Pisgah National Forest came to be.
When George Vanderbilt built Biltmore Estate in Ashville he also purchased many thousands of acres of forest land and wanted to preserve his view. He brought in a German to help to devise a way to preserve the forest.....he was able to reeducate the locals on how to preserve the forest as they harvested the timber. By saving the smaller tress and avoiding erosion....we today can see a forest that is near like it was then. He also developed the first forestry school in America. George Vanderbilt soon brought some additional forest land....thus Pisgah National Forest is in two parks....the area near Brevard and an area near Ashville.
Our plan was to return to the Cradle of Forestry this trip and see the exhibits. But there is so much to do and see it will have to wait until we are in the area next time. Well, I was going to tell you about more places we have visited but this has gotten a little long.....so stay tune and thanks for traveling along with us.