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“Hollywood”, Rained Out Craft Fair, Pink Beds, Mt. Pisgah 7/20-22/18

This weekend was a lemons to lemonade weekend. Went to Brevard Friday to camp at “Hollywood” in order to be ready, bright and early Saturday morning for the Relay for Life Craft Fair, where I planned on showing my jewelry. I cooked dinner at Holly’s while she wrapped up her tie-dying to get ready for the show the next day. The three of us, humans and our four Jack Russells (our two and Holly’s two) had a lovely evening, as always. Hollywood is hippie and puppy heaven atop a mountain in Pisgah Forest. Grateful to have such a dear friend with such an amazing site for us to camp.

Sadly, we woke very early Saturday morning to severe thunderstorms. Called the craft fair organizers, who cancelled due to weather. Two hours later, just as the craft fair would have begun, the sun was out, the sky was clear and blue. I was beyond frustrated and disappointed, as were Holly and Odile, who were going to have artist booths at the show too. We had all done a lot of work to prepare. Wiley and I left Holly’s, went to the Transylvania County Farmers Market, then decided to go hiking in Pisgah. We settled on Pink Beds, where we had not been in a few years. Boy, did we hit it right! We had the place to ourselves with the wild flowers putting on quite the show. There was even a field of sunflowers! What a way to turn my day around. It gets better. While picnicking after our hike, Wiley suggested, we go up to Mt. Pisgah to see if we could get a campsite for the night. I welcomed the suggestion and we were off up the mountain to the Parkway. We stopped at several overlooks en route to the campground. Perfect afternoon for fabulous long range views.

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Highlands Botanical Graden, Van Hook Glade, Cliffside Lake, & Whiteside Mountain 7/13-15/18

Spent a wonderful cool overcast weekend hiking and camping near home, but a world away at Van Hook Glade in Nantahala National Forest, just outside Highlands, NC.

On the way to Van Hook, we stopped to visit the Highlands Botanical Garden, we’d heard so much about. It’s was absolutely gorgeous! We hiked around the lake, through the bog, and into a fairy forest on the Lake Loop and Coker Rhododendron Trails. The water lilies were blooming, which was just icing on everything else that was in full bloom throughout. A must when in Highlands. Glad we stopped.

We arrived at Van Hook at dinner time to our favorite large wooded site, #19. We were warned by the campground host of a very active 350lb bear. We, fortunately and unfortunately, didn’t cross paths during our visit, although the trash at the dumpster was strewn Sunday morning.

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Black Mountain Campground, Pisgah National Forest 7/7-9/18

We had a perfect few days at my favorite WNC campground, Black Mountain Campground on the South Toe River, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the base of Mt Mitchell. It was just the right place to recover from the house full we had July 4th week. We were totally unplugged, just soaking in the peace, serenity, and beauty. Loved our riverfront spot, campsite #6.

I had a foot injury, so the 5 mi. hike from the campground up to Mt Mitchell was off the table until next time. Fortunately, there were so many easy level hikes right from our campsite that I was able to do. One of the most lush and beautiful places on earth, a mere 1/2 mi from our site, the 75ft Setrock Creek Falls is absolutely magical. We saw a red newt, who posed for closeups, then Nigel swam and played ball in the shallow water at the base, while Pippa hunted, and I protected the salamanders from her.

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Family, Family, & More Family June 6th-July 7th, 2018

June 6-10th, my dad, Uncle Fred, Aunt Wannelle, Cousin Joe, his wife, Kimmie, and their three precious babies, Lilli, Isaac, and Micah came to visit. We had a ball! They loved being here and Wiley and I loved sharing it with all of them. In our neighborhood, we played in the river and hiked to the falls. We went to the Bear Tracks Gem Mine, which was a huge hit with the children and adults alike. Friday night we had a ball with a picnic dinner, playground fun, and music at Groovin’ on the Green at the Village Green in Cashiers. Saturday, we all drove up to Highlands for the Motoring Festival, which is what brought my dad and uncle to visit from Memphis and Jacksonville in the first place. We saw the cars and walked around in town a little bit. Afterward, we had a fabulous visit to Dry Falls, followed by a picnic lunch and swimming at Cliffside Lake Recreation Area. We crammed in a ton of fun, but still had so much we didn’t get to. Can’t wait for them to return. Already making plans. Dad says he wants to see Fall here. He’s shooting for October. It is one of my favorite times in the mountains for sure. Hurry back, Family!

June 16-23rd, Wiley’s dad, Wiley Sr, stepmom, Jolene, his sister, Debbie, her husband, Jamey, their three grown children, Sarah, Clay, and Haley, Wiley’s stepbrother, Mark, Wiley, and I spent a HOT week on Pawleys Island, SC for our annual Wimberly family beach trip. Us mountain folk had a hard time with the heat, but survived. It was nice spending time with family, particularly with Debbie and her family, who live in Indiana, so we only see them twice a year. We ate a bunch of seafood, took lots of long walks on the beach early in the morning and early evening, made our annual visits to my beloved Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park, and drank several frozen drinks, out of necessity;) We were grateful to witness Haley battle a large stingray and bring it in on the shore early one morning. It was no small feat, quite an accomplishment. It was so cool to be a part of her big catch. We did not succumb to the heat, but were oh, so grateful to return to our cool mountains after a week in the heat. Sometimes you have to leave home and return in order to appreciate, why you love it so and what makes it home. Ahhhh, mountains. Definitely, a mountain girl!

July 3-7th, my older brother, Dick, his son, Harrison, my younger brother, Ben, his wife, Lyndsy, and their three boys, Abe, Henry, and Gideon converged on the mountains from Atlanta and NJ. Ben and company arrived first and made haste to get down to the river to swim and play in the falls. This was their first visit to Sapphire. They fell instantly in love. Dick and Harry arrived just in time for a quick dinner followed by the fabulous neighborhood professional fireworks show. It was quite a welcome for my family. Thanks, Burlingame! We hiked to Rockhouse Falls and Double Fern Falls, followed by a picnic lunch and river/falls play at Miller Falls, all in our neighborhood. Dick and Harry headed back to Atlanta for work. I was so glad they were able to come, even for just a short time. The boys loved all the rocks and stones they mined for at Bear Tracks Gem Mine. Always a favorite of our guests. We spent an afternoon at Fairfield Lake in Sapphire Valley, which was a huge hit. Everyone loved the sandy beach, swimming dock, and breathtaking view of Bald Rock. Will definitely take them back there next time. We got babysitters and took Ben and Lyndsy out for a belated Anniversary dinner at the Greystone Inn at Lake Toxaway. It was a lovely dinner followed by drinks at the fire pit overlooking the lake. it was the perfect kid-free evening. Their last full day here, it rained, so we made alternate plans. We went to Joccasee Gorges Visitors Center, followed by swimming at the indoor pool at Sapphire Valley Rec. Center. We did not let the rain dampen our fun. After swimming, it had cleared up enough for us to head to Cashiers for Groovin’ on the Green. We had a picnic dinner, the boys played football with the herd of boys, we enjoyed the music, there was even some dancing. Unfortunately, the rain returned, so Wiley and I headed home. The wild bunch stayed, rain and all. Cashiers even did their belated fireworks display in the rain. So glad my crew got to enjoy it. It was a fun-filled week with tons of activity. Again, we just scratched the surface of things to do in our area. They’ll have to come back for more adventures.