Van Hook Glade, Friday, 12 September 2014

It’s Friday morning, Somewhere before 0700. It’s wet outside. We had a couple of water leaks in the tent, but not many, and not bad. We’re mostly dry in here. And that’s a good thing. I’m listening to the rain as it hits the rain-fly, and to the wind as it blows through the trees, wondering, “why am I awake?”

I suspect I’ll take a nap shortly. Fig Newtons (actually, WalMart’s copy of them) are addictive. Sunrise is somewhere around 0730 ish. We woke up about 0530 hours, Pit stops. Always fun to get dressed in the tent, in the dark, get socks and shoes on, find the flashlight, and walk uphill to the camp bathhouse. Makes you appreciate home.

Pop-tarts and bananas for breakfast. Washed down by Cranberry Ginger Ale. And my daily 40 mg of Prozac. Wish I had a way to dim the display on the Chromebook. I could get double the battery life. But, it has no brightness settings or controls. I’ve looked a bunch of times. They don’t exist.

And, we’ll see how the day goes, and how much time we spend in the tent, reading, and napping.

And, it’s now 1817 hours. We just got back to the tent. Didn’t rain as much today as it was supposed to. We raided Dry Falls, Glen Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls again. We also stopped by the Highlands Botanical Gardens, although we didn’t stay there long, because the rain started. We found two grocery stores, The Mountain Fresh Grocery, and Bryson’s Grocery.

Mountain Fresh is not like any grocery store I’ve ever seen. It’s not that big, really. A typical Food Lion dwarfs it. But, it’s not really a grocery either. Yes, it has groceries. About as much as a 7-11. And it’s all high-end. It also had a wood fired brick oven pizza, fresh seafood, a butcher, a pile of olive oils and vinegars, which you can sample, and buy by the bottle, a full up food service (order your burgers, or ding near anything else), and a wine and cheese bar.

She tried the 4 flavor 20 ounce beer sampler. Got to pick the 4 flavors she wanted. I had a big cup of soda from the soda fountain. I don’t remember the beer flavors. But I had Boylan’s Black Cherry soda. Yum.

We picked up $5 of gas, ‘cause, in Highlands, gas is like $3.60 a gallon. Yeah. Yeah. I know. Everyone in Europe just said, “Gods, that’s cheap!” But if we go 38 miles East of here to Brevard, its’ $3.42 a gallon. And back in Virginia Beach, it’s $3.19 a gallon. So, we just got enough to get to Brevard.

Bryson’s grocery is a normal grocery. ‘Cept that half the back wall of the store is beer. Yeah. Half. I told her, “Well. What else you gonna do when you’re snowed in to the house in winter?” And yeah, there are houses out here that have wood burning stoves inside, huge freezers (usually a couple of them), and gigantic pantries. Because there are times when you can’t go anywhere for a couple of weeks in the winter up here. You live on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere? They ain’t sending a snowplow out. Hell, a snowplow couldn’t get down a lot of the roads out here.

Dry Falls is always fun. The trail goes right behind it. Yep. You get to look at the back side of a waterfall. If you’re averse to getting a bit damp, don’t walk behind it. But, if walking through the mist is not a problem for you, you’ll love it. It’s easy to take pictures from both sides of the fall, and fun to see a waterfall from lots of different angles.

Glen falls was fun. We were both exhausted. Especially her. Glen Falls had 3 waterfalls. The first 2 are good. The third one is nothing special. You can usually skip that one. If you go to the 3rd one, the trail from the parking lot is about a mile, and drops 700 feet. One thing to note. Glen Falls is a dangerous place. Lots of wet, slippery rocks, and very large cliffs. Stay on the trails, and don’t take the chance on getting hurt.

We went to the middle fall. When we started back, I sang the song I kept hearing in my head. Sung to the tune of Sherry Lewis and Lamb Chop’s Song That Never Ends.

This is the up that never ends.
Yes it goes up and up my friends.
Some people started climbing it
Not knowing what it was.
Now they’ll be climbing it forever just because….

And repeat. Forever.

The woman that caught up to us, and passed us on the trail while I was singing that nearly choked, she laughed so hard.

Pat wanted specific pictures at Bridal Veil Falls. With me under the falls. So, she took three. One is showing the full size of the falls, with a little me standing there. The other shows me waving, and the third has me sticking my hand under the very edge of the fall, just enough to get some water on it. No, I did not step under the fall. That would be suicidal. I stood at the edge of the road, and reached as far as I could.

Yeah. I’ll have to post those three pictures, I suppose.

Dinner tonight was calzones from Brick Oven Pizza. We were hungry. It was good, not great, but good. And for Highlands, it was dirt cheap.

And here we are, once more, at Van Hook Glade. Hiding in the tent. She’s reading her Kindle, I’m writing this on my Chromebook. Got over half the battery charge left. Turning off the WiFi does help extend the battery life. But only so much. 90% of the power use of this thing now is the display. Which I can’t dim.

Ah. Another night of sleeping to the sound of rain striking the rain fly on the tent. Take that, cabin camping. Take that hotel life. You can’t get this kind of experience any other way. Yeah, I know. It’s not for everyone. But, if you can deal with having to get up in the middle of the night, get dressed, and walk uphill to the bath house, to make a middle of the night pit stop, you might be able to do this.

And $30 a night beats the cost of any hotel. Gets even cheaper when you cook your own food at the campsite. Just heard an owl. And tonight, as the sun sets, the frogs, and crickets, and all the rest will come out, and we’ll be serenaded to sleep.

Tomorrow, we break camp, and head home. We’re planning to stop in Asheville, at the Farmer’s Market, and then for lunch at Apollo’s Flame (It’s a Greek place). Then, we drive all the way home. Saturday night, we sleep at home. And Sunday morning, we see if we can move at all.

Nighty-night, everyone.

Mark.

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