Sometimes it’s not the water

We find ourselves drawn to water wherever we travel in the US. Both oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, and countless other large and small lakes and rivers.

But in this instance, we were more intrigued by the bridge over the river.

Poinsett Bridge is the oldest intact bridge in South Carolina and perhaps in the entire southeastern United States. Built in 1820, it was named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, director of the state Board of Public Works during the design of the road over the bridge. Poinsett gained greater fame for introducing the poinsettia to the United States.

But wait, there’s more. The bridge is believed to have been designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument! The stream is nice, too….

Mutt and Jeff

As we explore the areas where we park the coach, we try to find points of interest that are readily accessible.

Ross and Ryan are pretty game to try fairly rough trails, but that effort wears thin quickly. When a trail is particularly rough, sometimes Robyn will plunge ahead and I’ll stay with the twins, and if she returns with a glowing report and great pics on her phone, she’ll stay with the twins and I’ll go ahead.

Sometimes we just get lucky, and we can see the excitement right from the car!

In the instance of Bridal Veil Falls near Highlands, NC, the road actually goes behind the falls!

Well, used to go behind. I guess they got tired of ice on the road in winter, and all year there were problems with falling rocks. So now we drive past it, park next to it, and walk behind it. Just a wisp of a thing.

Less than a mile past this falls is the largest torrent in a free fall that we have seen around these parts.

It’s called…wait for it…Dry Falls!

The greatest thing about it is you can walk behind it!

If you click on this pic, and look carefully near the center, there’s a colorful-but-blurry combination of Robyn and Ryan, and a faint seated pair of Ross and Grandpa Claude!

Sometimes, there’s no easy way down

In all these valleys, the water has to fall, and sometimes it just has to do it abruptly.

Not necessarily with high drama…sometimes almost delicately:
This is Shunkawauken Falls, which comes in two main cascades. The one shown above falls right beside a very narrow turn in the road. Its water is then piped under the road and cascades further from there. Like this:
In other locations, there’s so much water and so much vertical drop to cover, high drama is required.

This is Triple Falls from the hiking trail, and the drama of its sound gives fair warning…it’s a biggie.
Up close, it’s quite the thundering beast. Photos are challenging, because it generates a lot of misty spray. There are no viewing platforms…you can walk right up and into the water! For this photo, I was just back from the water’s edge, and about 20 feet above the edge of the final 50-foot cascade.

Water, water everywhere

So yeah, all these Blue Ridge Mountains have valleys, all the valleys have streams…and streams have personalities.

Sometimes they just make a little noise as they figure out a way through a jumble of rocks:

Other times they produce an entire scene and set a mood…in concert with trees to filter the sunlight, some rhododendrons for color, and fallen logs to produce artistic lines that offset the otherwise almost static balance:

Lotsa falls

The next county to the west from where we’re parked this summer is named Transylvania.

Its name is derived from the Latin words, trans meaning “across”, and sylva meaning “woods.” Whew, we need not fear walking in its woods.

The county calls itself the “Land of Waterfalls” due to the 250 waterfalls located there. Transylvania County receives over 90 inches of rain annually, and is the wettest county in the state. In contrast, Buncombe County, which is the next county to the north from where we’re parked, receives the lowest precipitation!

We have barely begun to explore its waterfalls…we keep getting sidetracked by its unnamed ones! This one is right beside the road, but it’s below the road level enough that you don’t know it’s there unless you stop…and hear…the rushing & splashing water!

The twin falls below are part of a series of falls named Linville Falls. These are the gentle ones. I hope to produce an image of the rough and rugged ones! The trail to these was a challenging walk for Ross and Ryan, but they loved to hear the rushing water!

Speaking of water….

All these hills and mountains in western North Carolina capture a lot of moisture. Every hill creates several valleys, and every valley has a stream.

Rarely do those streams go all the way down a hillside peacefully and smoothly…they just have to drop a bunch all at once.And some, like this fairly small stream, have to do it again just a few hundred yards downstream!

Green, green, all just green

Occasionally I complain (in jest) “It’s all so GREEN, just green, everywhere you look…green”.

You look to the east:It’s green.

You look to the south:It’s green as far as the eye can see.

Truly, it’s easy to get jaded (sorry), I mean bored, by this magnificent scenery. Around every corner on the Blue Ridge Parkway it’s the same scene: green ridges, bumps, and dips for literally a hundred miles! Yes, the really distant portion of the view takes on a bluish cast…these are the Blue Ridge Mountains…but it’s really a lot of green.

Slow down. In fact, stop.

If you get out of your car and stand still for a few minutes, you begin to see something….

First, there are scads of different shades of green. Oh wow, how exciting.

Stay with me. Notice the little blue lake down there? Right in the center.
(you can click on any photo to make it fill your screen)

Take your time, and you’ll discover all kinds of fascinating things about this great green world!

Oh, you know why it’s so green, don’t you? Uh huh, water, lots of water.

I can see for miles and miles

So obviously, parked near the Blue Ridge Parkway, we have to be Ridge Runners all summer long!

Ross and Ryan love the twisty-turny roads to get there. Robyn and I love the tunnel of trees on the way up the mountain.

But THE VIEW takes the cake!

We can actually gain entrance to the Parkway from five different spots near our coach. Sometimes we’ll get some special groceries in Asheville, and take a brief run along the Parkway.

But our greatest extravagance is to time an errand around lunchtime, swing past a favorite diner for take-out Mexican food, and drive 1.5 miles to the Parkway to eat it! Ohhh my….good food, good company, good comfort in the car, and GREAT VIEW!

Can you say Ayshvull?

Despite yesterday’s alligator, HERE right now is on the lee side of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Asheville, NC. We plan to be here for the summer.

It might be enough that we’re parked only 18 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. But noooo, we enjoy cooler and drier and more breezy summer weather here than in Dayton, about 400 miles to the north!

This is the fourth summer we’ve enjoyed this location. We park the coach in a 55+ travel park that is only open May-Oct. Most of those who stay here leave their fifth wheel or straight trailer rigs year round…empty during the winter months when the park is closed. They have homes or condos further south where it’s warmer in the winter.

Because of the altitude here, winter months are very windy and cold. Snow occurs, but not much or very often…it’s mostly just dreary.

But not in the summer! (click the pic for a BIG view!)

Hey, where y’all been?

Ohhh, we’ve been here and there, doing this and that. How about you?

Actually, I’ve had a great, gaping wound in my side…because you and I have had no conversation in words and photos for over four years!

Robyn and I have limited the amount of countryside we roll through during this blog hiatus…mostly because it’s been enough fun (and work) to check out more thoroughly some geography that fits our need for climate and family.

I’ve been so caught up doing life with these twin needs-machines and my sweet wife, that I frankly haven’t been much inspired to shoot photos.

Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been anything interesting to see….(click on the pic for an up-close view!)DSC00109