"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, April 25, 2014

Smokie Mountain National Park

We camped at Smokemont Campground and enjoyed the peacefulness of the area. The best loop is F which was not open yet and sat along side the creek. We had previously stayed in the KOA in Cherokee which was fine for someone with kids and that want a pool.
Mingus Creek Trail climbs past old farms to the Smokies high country
We would take our trail magic, Cliff Bars, while hike the trail and meet thru hikers that were thankful for a treat and someone to visit with for a brief time to tell some stories.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mt LeConte and Alum Cave

What a great hike in the Smokies. After getting thru a bear jam, the tourists stop in the middle of the road and look at bears in the trees and actually walk away from their vehicles and leave traffic backed up until the Rangers move people along. Climbing up alum Cave into Arch Rock on the way to Mt LeConte is very pleasant walk.
The Alum Cave Trail is the shortest and steepest of the five trails leading to the Le Conte massif, which contains four separate peaks in all, the highest of which has an elevation of 6,593 feet. Due to its short length and beautiful scenery (it is often considered Le Conte's most scenic route) it is the most common footpath for hikers seeking to reach the summit of Le Conte. Along the way you will pass by Arch Rock, Alum Cave Bluff which is not a true cave. It is what geologists refer to as a rock shelter. At the top you will find the LeConte Lodge which provides the only commercial lodging in the national park, as it operates about 10 rustic cabins with no electricity or appliances.
We met a few people hiking to spend the night at the top which reservations are required and often difficult to get unless in advance. We hear the sunrises are beautiful. It is still early spring and not a lot has bloomed yet. We are quite pleased to be spending the next couple of months in the area while working at the Asheville Mission Hospital. Our apartment is next to the river and a couple of miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boone and Blue Ridge Parkway

Went to Boone to see more waterfalls and stayed at the KOA. Not a lot of campgrounds open this early. It was a nice town and kind of chilly yet. But we have to get out there and see it while we are here.
Named for legendary explorer, Daniel Boone, Boone, North Carolina retains the pioneer spirit, it has grown into a busy college town, the home of Appalachian State University. The surrounding area is one of the country's best destinations for outdoor adventures. Walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge to Grandfather Mountain's Linville Peak, the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Catawba Falls, Northwestern North Carolina

While working in Ashville, NC, this is one hike we enjoyed very much. It is very peaceful with lots of areas to get off the trail and enjoy the small waterfalls along the hike.
It's located on an isolated tract of Pisgah National Forest property near Old Fort, NC, at the southern end of the Grandfather Ranger District, just south of I-40. A new parking area and trail culminates years of effort to provide public access to this special area, which required a variety of legislation to accomplish. Today, Catawba Falls is open to visitors and a highly recommended destination
Starting at the new parking area, the trail heads upriver on old road beds, crossing the river once on stepping stones. You may have to get your feet wet here, and it may be an impossible crossing in very high water. (A bridge is planned for this location in the future.) The trail climbs moderately past some old building foundations and an old dam, before ending at the base of the lower falls.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Centenial Trail in Spokane Valley, WA

The Spokane River Centennial Trail is a 37 mile paved recreational trail for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles. The trail stretches from Sontag Park in Nine Mile Falls, Washington to the Washington / Idaho state line. It continues another 24 miles beyond the Washington state border into Idaho as the North Idaho Centennial trial through Post Falls and into Coeur d'Alene.
We surprised by all of the trails so close to Spokane for bike riding once we arrived.
Mirabel Springs on the edge of Mirabel Park east of Spokane. The falls colors beautiful and so much to explore. Mike got to ride with the local cycle club a few time and I did once. It is a great way to learn new areas for a bike ride.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dishman Hills and Mt Spokane Hikes

Dishman Hills Natural Area, adjacent to Camp Caro Community Park, is 530 acres of dramatically sculpted rocky hills and ponds with areas of grasses mixed pine and fir forest, aspen groves, views, and a profusion of wildflowers every spring. Dishman Hills has been protected as a natural area for over 30 years, serving as habitat for wildlife and as a passive recreational resource with miles of designated trails.
Another hike we decided to try was up Mt Spokane. There were quite a few trails. I think we picked the up trail.
The cabin was built and used by the CCC. Pass though both forest and meadow on the way to this heritage site on the aptly named Beauty Mountain within Mount Spokane State Park. During the Great Depression, this was the summer spike camp of Company 949 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, voted the best of the nation's CCC camps.
Sometimes you have to find a way to get where you want to get. It was worth it once we got to our destination.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

Harrison is nestled at the mouth of the Coeur d'Alene River at the southern end of Lake Coeur d'Alene. It offers a beautiful view of the lake and the mountains. Visitors may arrive by boat, car, Motorcycle, or bicycle. Running through town is the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, a 72 mile trail paved from Mullan to Plummer. Kootenai County docks are open and you can leave your boat docked for up to 72 hours in the local Marina. Harrison also offers a waterfront RV park with 20 spaces with water and electric hook-ups, an on-site dump station, showers and bathroom facilities, and a tent camping area. Don't forget about our beautiful city park with gazebo, barbecue/ kitchen area and a children's playground.
The full hookup sites had a fire ring along the lake. We happened to be there during the Bass fish off and The bars at the marina and in town just a block from us played on all weekend. We just turned on the air conditioner to block out the music after a few hours and all was good. They have lots of festivals since this is the end of the road.
The rides along the trail were peaceful with wildlife.
We steered clear of the moose but enjoyed watching them.
The oldest building in Idaho is also among its most impressive. The Jesuit mission at Cataldo, built between 1850 and 1853 for the Coeur d’Alene tribe, has survived the ages magnificently. This is 24 miles east of Coure dAlene along the trail