What a day!! I started out to hike to Roaring Fork and Setrock Creek Falls which are both at the base of Mount Mitchell.
First, Ruby would not start. No sound at all. I tried every gear and neutral. Nothing. So I sat there. Now What?? I waited maybe 10 minutes, tried again and she started right up. Oh boy. Could she do this to me when I’m miles away from anywhere?
I drove south on the parkway and in less than a mile the fog was so thick it was scary. I could not see any further than 2 or 3 feet ahead and had to watch the center line to make sure I was on the road. The camera somehow was able to make the fog look less thick than it was. Though that wasn’t how it looked when I stopped on the road to take this picture.
After about 3 miles I managed to see a pull over sign for the other side of the road so I inched along until I could see to pull in. 4 other vehicles were also there. I sat and read (I NEVER go anywhere without a book) for an hour but the fog did not lift. Below is the “view” from the overlook
3 of the 4 cars were still there when I gave up and creeped back to Bear Den where again there was no fog. I couldn’t tell when or if the fog would lift but at 1pm I started out again.
No fog for a mile or so and then there it was but not so thick. I continued 19 miles in varying degrees of visibility and rain thinking I’m crazy but half way through my stay at Bear Den with much more I want to see. I really have only 12 days remaining here unless I break my no going out on the week end rule.
Still foggy but not as bad as earlier.
Once I turned off the Parkway onto Route 80 the fog totally disappeared and I drove on to Roaring Fork Falls. I passed two groups coming out given the later time than usual for me. I virtually never start a hike in the afternoon. But this has been a strange day from the beginning.
Then the rain started. It was light and I had a rain coat and I’d driven all this way. So on I went. The trail at first was not puddles of water which surprised me.
The cool fungi is definitely a result of all the rain in these mountains. I suppose the Hoh Rainforest in Washington has plenty as well. It’s been a long time since I was there but I’d sure like to go back.
On the trail I passed these two cinder block buildings. My mind tried to make up a story about them but no good ones showed up. Later I read that they were concrete bunkers formerly used to store explosives. Used by whom? For what?Why? Google refused to answer.
Roaring Fork Falls is 100’ high and seems almost to meander down through the rocks. So beautiful!
It was a lovely and almost restful falls. I was extremely careful taking pictures as the rocks were wet. I took the ones above with my canon and the ones below with my phone.
No possibility of sitting and enjoying because everything was so wet even though I was surprisingly the only one there. The rain continued lightly off and on.
These phone pictures start at a distance and move closer.
The “I was here “ selfie shows the actual distance I was from the falls.
So gorgeous close up. I hope you’ll also enjoy this video on the falls.
I left when it started raining more seriously.
Tricky hiking out with rocks and roots. I hope the heavy traffic hasn’t damaged the roots of these trees enough to kill them. I always try to walk on the ground and not on the roots if possible but I know from experience that others are not so concerned.
Looking down I could see that fall has begun in Mid August here in the North Carolina Mountains.
I walked out along the stream as the rain continued to come down.
Remember that dry trail on my hike in? Here’s what it looked like on my way out.
Back to Ruby and 3 more miles, most of it on the gravel South Toe River Road, to the forest service Black Mountain Campground which it turns out is in Mount Mitchell State Park.
Parking is across from the campground entrance and several trailheads go off from it including the Mountains to Sea trail which goes east to west clear across North Carolina and a trail that goes up Mount Mitchell. I’d read about both and learned that the trail up Mount Mitchell was an 11.7 mile out and back trail considered challenging and takes over 7 hours. Not for me. Mount Mitchell, known as Attakulla to the Native Cherokee, is the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains
I did wonder about the MST. I always wanted to be a thru hiker on the Appalachian Trail and had a map of it hanging by my bed so I saw it every morning at the farm. But I’ve had to settle for being a section hiker. The AT is roughly 2190 miles going south to north. I looked up the MST, going east to west, and found it is 1150 miles. I’d like to do some sections of it but not today.
On to the Setrock Creek Trail. There were a dozen cars already in the parking lot outside the campground entrance, so clearly I’m not the only one who hikes in the rain. Or at least not here, with so many trailheads.
The Setrock Creek Falls Trailhead was just inside the campground before you get to the sites. No water, electric or sewer here. I checked out the campground after my hike and it had some nice sites but the road to get to it back here in the Pisgah National Forest is not for Winnona.
The rain had stopped when I started down the trail to this slightly smaller falls.
Rocky steps and more rooty paths.
And then the falls. Like Roaring Fork Falls it is in the Pisgah National Forest and at the base of Mount Mitchell. It’s a 75’ falls and despite today’s rain, was not as full as nearby Roaring Fork.
As you can see, I have a very hard time choosing which photos at which distance I want to use. Still these are only a fraction of what I took. Waterfalls are just so fantastic.
The rain began again and harder as I left. It was after 4pm by this time and two more groups were just hiking in. Good luck to them.
Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the fog was some what lighter on my return trip and no other cars were going my way until a black pick up without lights on – Is he crazy – pulled out right in front of me from a side road leading to Spruce Pine. He surely must have seen me with my lights on. But I had to put on the brakes. Was he paying no attention.
Then amazingly, he put his flashers on but not his lights and kept hitting the brakes so I had to as well to keep from being too close to him. This went on for 5 aggravating miles and of course he turned into the Bear Den Campground. Pretty sure he would not have had to hit the brakes so often if he could see better which his headlights obviously would have allowed in this lighter fog.
Foggy rainy day but lovely falls. Earlier in my stay here I would have curled up with a book on a day like this. But I’m running out of time and still have things left to see and do.