Random Hiking in Pisgah

This was our last day in the Asheville area.  Instead of heading into town to explore more of the city, we chose to check out a few more trails.  We started with plans to trek the Squirrel Gap trail; however, we encountered a few difficulties along the way.  First, the direction that we picked up from the ranger’s station seemed to lack some important information…such as the trail requires one to wade through the river to connect to the other side.  If the temperature wasn’t in the high 40s/low 50s, we might have considered it.  But not today.  Next, there seemed be a lack of trail blazes and well marked signs along the route.  A few times we ended up making our own trail, fortunately, getting us to the correct spot.  After 8 miles, we arrived back at the car and drove back to town for a little ice cream treat.

Our afternoon and evening were spent sitting by a campfire, admiring the beauty of the area.  I found it interesting to see the large tree next to our camp had distinctly changed colors in the five day we were here.  When we arrived on Friday, the tree was a bright yellow and today it was a dark burnt orange.  It is amazing to witness the season change in such short period of time.

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Footbridge on Trail
Footbridge on Trail

Cultural Asheville

Wanting to explore more than just the forest, Andrew and I drove into Asheville to find a few art galleries and unique shops.  However, who can resist the opportunity to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall.  We chose to take the scenic drive into Asheville.  From Blue Ridge Parkway, we had a wonderful view of the foliage and mountains.  The peaks went on for miles and miles.  It was breathtaking to see.

Once in downtown Asheville, we looked for a good spot to shop and peruse a few local galleries.  We ended up parking in Historic Biltmore Village and wandering around a few shops.  The Bellagio Wearable Art had some unique jewelry, purses and textiles.  I felt fortunate to find an adorable pair of birdcage earrings.  Another great stop as the Scottish Highlands Craft Shop.  The store showcased many beautiful pieces by local artists, jewelers, woodworkers, and more.

After a little shopping, Andrew and I drove over to Grove Park Inn.  This was the one must see on our trip.  F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed at this inn when he brought this wife, Zelda to Highland Hospital for some psychiatric care.  Unfortunately, Zelda was killed of in a fire at Highland Hospital in 1948.  I would have liked to visit the site of Highland Hospital, but it is now business storefronts.

At Grove Park Inn, we enjoyed a drink by the giant fireplace in the lobby.  Then, we moved to the terrace to watch the sunset and eat a tasty dinner.  The setting was the perfect place to celebrate our time together and the wonderful adventure we’ve experienced.

Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway
Grove Park Inn
Grove Park Inn
Sunset from Grove Park
Sunset from Grove Park
Sunset from Grove Park
Sunset from Grove Park

 

North Slope, Sliding Rock & Looking Glass Falls

Wanting to enjoy some quiet time close to home, Andrew and I chose to take a 4.25 mile hike around North Slope Trail, which is located near our campsite.  We brought Ame with us to explore the area.  It was really adorable to watch her run, sniff and climb along the trail.  Ame definitely gets excited by nature and hiking.

After completing our hike, we got in the SUV and drove along the roads in Pisgah National Forest.  The first road we turned onto had several free roadside campsites.  We found a couple that would be perfect to fit Rosie, the Airstream. Next time we visit this area, we have our campsite selected!

Once back on the main road, we stopped off at two different falls.  The first was Sliding Rock Falls.  In the summer, this spot is famous for sliding along a shallow group of slick rocks into a swimming hole.  The second stop was Looking Glass Falls.  This beautiful waterfall is located next to the road and offers a spectacular view.

Sliding Rock Falls
Sliding Rock Falls
Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls