The morning we left to take Miles back to school, we got the call confirming his mono test was positive. What a way to start senior year…
One of the perks of being a senior at Asheville School is move-in day a day early and senior banquet prior to the underclassman arriving. We got Miles moved in and all settled, said our goodbyes, then made a snap decision to head up to Hot Springs to camp at Rocky Bluff in order to hike Max Patch on the AT at the NC/TN border, a longtime bucket list hike, the following day. Ashe was home packing for her big move to NOLA and Tulane. I would be leaving Wiley and the puppies that coming week to take go with Ashe to get moved in and acclimated to her new city. Rather than going to hang with the hippies for two nights at Darkstar Orchestra at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mtn, as planned, we decided a quiet couple of days camping and hiking together was in order, after all the craziness of traveling with the family then getting both kids ready for school. We blew off Dark Star and drove up the mountain from Asheville to Hot Springs. We had never been to this area of WNC before. Hot Springs was tiny and cute. We just drove on through, eager to get to the campground to see if we could get a campsite, if we couldn’t, we were just going to go to Darkstar.
We arrived at Rocky Bluff in Pisgah National Forest and were thrilled there was availability. The campground was a little rough with what looked like a few folks living there permanently, but it was ok. I am not adding it to my list of favorite campgrounds, but was torn, because the immediate area is gorgeous and the hiking from the campground was wonderful. Upon arrival, we hiked from our campsite on the lush 1.2 mi. Spring Creek Nature Trail through a hardwood-pine forest, rhododendron, wildflowers, mushrooms galore, and along the cascading mountain stream known for its trout fishing. Once part of the Brook’s farm an old house foundation, rock fences and a cemetery remain. Half way through our hike, the sky opened up and poured on us. We raced back to Happy. We were drenched and had to hang all our clothes up to dry in the van. Nigel and Pippa were not happy…To add insult to injury, it thundered and lightninged throughout the night, which terrifies them. Poor puppies had a rough night.
Saturday morning, we hiked in the campground to the beautiful Spencer’s Overlook, which gave us fabulous views of the surrounding mountains with wispy clouds spattered throughout the valley. Perfect way to start the day. From there, we hiked the entirety of the Spring Creek Trail. Love this creek and trail! Just gorgeous! After the hike, we left Rocky Bluff for Max Patch and a little bit of the AT. It was drizzling, but we pressed on. We arrived at Max Patch. Thankfully, there was a temporary pause in the rain. We took the more difficult approach up to the summit on the 1.4mi loop trail. Max Patch is a grassy bald with 360 degree views from Mt. Mitchell to the Great Smoky Mtns. Sadly, we arrived at the summit to a group of “yutes”, camping there and blasting rap music, needless to say, we didn’t stay long. It was most unpleasant. We saw the views, took some pics, and continued on the loop to the parking area, got back in Happy, and headed to Sapphire in the rain.
It was a nice impromptu trip, just what Wiley needed before me leaving him for a week to go to NOLA with Ashe. Camping and hiking is his happy place and mine. After having some alone time, peace, and serenity in the woods, he was better equipped for me to leave. It was a lovely couple of days together, despite the rain.