Tag Archives: camping

Mischief Managed

Clouds Over Grandfather

Clouds Over Grandfather

We made it back from the camping trip with nothing put a set of sore legs, a half eaten box of oatmeal and some good memories. I don’t believe I’ve really spent a whole weekend vacation with my mother and brothers in the five years since I graduated from high school, and so it was good to have the whole family together in my old stomping ground in the western part of our state with nothing on the agenda at all.

After much coaxing, I was able to get the group to set off on a hike of the Boone Fork Trail — a five mile loop that should take two to three hours. During the first three hours we tried unsuccessfully to find a spur trail off of the loop that would lead us to a waterfall / rock formation we had only driven to before.

Zachary frolicking over the falls

Zachary frolicking over the falls

Then Zachary, my 19-year-old brother, disappeared up the side of a mountain and into the woods. We didn’t think much of it for a while and continued on down the trail, but after 30 minutes or so when he didn’t show up, we began to get worried and set off looking for him.

By this time we had given up on finding our missing waterfalls and were just hoping to find Zach and get back to camp before nightfall. Jacob and I set off into the woods about 1/4 mile from the spot on the trail where we lost Zach, hoping we would head him off. He heard us calling for him and shouted back. He had no idea how he’d done it, but while trying to find the trail again, Zachary stumbled into the rock formation we’d spent all day looking for. The boys played around some and then we got back to camp just in time to get a fire and supper started before the sun set — six hours after we’d started our hike.

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At The Village Cafe in Blowing Rock

Earlier in the day, Kristen and I set out on a hunt for breakfast. I decided not to tell Kristen what we were doing and just lead a walk from our campsite alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway and into Blowing Rock, where we had a formal brunch in the outdoor garden of The Village Cafe. Our smelly camp clothes stood out in sharp contrast to the waitstaff and tourists that sat around us, but after walking more than five miles to get to our table, we felt like we deserved a good breakfast just as much as the next guy.

As far as photographs went on this trip, I was pretty captivated with the cloudy skies over the mountains at every vista. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to shoot the mountains in sunny weather and generally tried to avoid taking the camera out in the rainy months. After the first night, we never had much rain on this trip but the scattered cloud cover hung over us the entire weekend, creating some neat sunburst scenes and really providing a powerful atmosphere that matched the prominence of the landscape.

Reading by the lake

Reading by the lake

Jacob. Lost.

Jacob. Lost.

Dusk on the river

Dusk on the river

Camp stove

Camp stove

On the way to breakfast

On the way to breakfast

Parenthood

Parenthood

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Birthday In Blowing Rock


In addition to being an incredible teacher, a great listener and the best friend I could ask for, my wife also has the ability to pitch a tent in less than five minutes, in the middle of the night, without a flash light after driving three hours on a mountain road. Yeah, I’m lucky.

Last night we left Sanford at 9:30 with a packed car and an already car sick dog. We got to Blowing Rock and set up our tent a little before 1 a.m. and settled in for the night. An unexpected rain shower woke us up a few hours later and we scrambled to get our rain fly on the tent and make sure the dog was alright, but then I had the soundest nights’ sleep I’ve ever had in the woods.

My mother and brothers had come to camp earlier in the day, planning to stay the weekend as a birthday treat for Jacob. We had said we didn’t think we could come, and when I was abl e to get the day off of work, we kept the secret until the next morning when my mom found our tent set up next door.

Our first full day was spent laying around Price Lake, reading, fishing and paddling around. I’ll see if I can’t get some more strenuous activity out of the family tomorrow.


Wilson Creek

This post was originally published as a gallery page on April 20, 2009. It has been moved into the blog for archive purposes.

Kristen and I spent two nights in the Wilson Creek wilderness area, just south of Grandfather Mountain, over Easter weekend in 2009. We had intended to stay for longer, but, being freshmen backpackers, we weren’t able to accurately pace ourselves using the rough map of the area.

Click any image in the sequence to open up a slideshow viewer.

At least we started the trip on the right note. This was our first time backpacking together, and the first real outing we used our new Canon 450D.

At least we started the trip on the right note. This was our first time backpacking together, and the first real outing we used our new Canon 450D.

 
Our trail followed the Lost Cove Creek for the first four miles. The lightly blazed trail crossed the river every few hundred yards, usually with no 'easy' way across.

Our trail followed the Lost Cove Creek for the first four miles. The lightly blazed trail crossed the river every few hundred yards, usually with no 'easy' way across.

 
We didn't start hiking our first day until about 5:30 p.m., giving just a couple of hours to get familiar with the terrain before we had to set up camp.

We didn't start hiking our first day until about 5:30 p.m., giving just a couple of hours to get familiar with the terrain before we had to set up camp.

 
Kristen managed to find the sun, despite cloudy skies and thick rhododendron overhead.

Kristen managed to find the sun, despite cloudy skies and thick rhododendron overhead.

 
Having not passed anyone but a group of a day hikers who started at the same time as we had, we just set up camp on the trail by the creek our first night.

Having not passed anyone but a group of a day hikers who started at the same time as we had, we just set up camp on the trail by the creek our first night.

 
Posing together after breakfast.

Posing together after breakfast.

 
Much to our surprise, barely 100 feet from our camp site was a beautiful set of waterfalls we lounged by the next morning.

Much to our surprise, barely 100 feet from our camp site was a beautiful set of waterfalls we lounged by the next morning.

 
In April the water was still too cool for swimming, though it was tempting.

In April the water was still too cool for swimming, though it was tempting.

 
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Water crashing off a rock

 
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We spent hours baking on the cool rock, reading, eating grapes and listening to the rushing water on Easter Sunday.

 
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Waterfalls feed a whirlpool perfect for soaking.

 
Kristen and Dulles romping on the rocks.

Kristen and Dulles romping on the rocks.

 
Another mile or so down the trail and we came across this towering blue waterfall that emptied into a multi-tiered lake.

Another mile or so down the trail and we came across this towering blue waterfall.

 
Kristen rests after reading by a mountain lake Sunday afternoon.

Kristen rests after reading by a mountain lake Sunday afternoon.

 
We camped just above this waterfall, which poured down another tier before emptying into a crystal lake.

We camped just above this waterfall, which poured down another tier before emptying into a crystal lake.

 
Camping in the Blue Ridge.

Camping in the Blue Ridge.

 
A mountain watering hole.

A mountain watering hole.

 
Loaded up and ready for the home stretch.

Loaded up and ready for the home stretch.

 
The only crossing where staying dry was an option.

The only crossing where staying dry was an option.

 
Days well spent.

Days well spent.


Backpacking

Kristen and I spent a few days backpacking in the Wilson Creek wilderness area over Easter weekend. While we take day hikes and go camping pretty often, this was our first foray into backpacking. Wilson Creek is a beautiful area, but the trails are definitely the most technical hiking either of us have ever done, making the pictures and memories that much more rewarding.

A personal album of waterfall photos and portraits from a backpacking trip in Wilson Creek.

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