Monday, September 05, 2011

Geocaching Adventures: Western North Carolina

We have spent this Labour Day weekend (well, most of it) exploring the western half of North Carolina.

Why go west?  I give you two reasons.  First is the standard: eh, why not?  The second requires some explanation. I am currently doing the North Carolina Delorme Challenge.  This challenge requires one to find a cache on each of the 77 pages of the Delorme North Carolina Atlas. Once all of the pages are found, the cache owner will send you the coordinates to one final victory cache.

Before this weekend I have found qualifying caches for 23 pages.  West of me were 4 unclaimed pages strewn about the western half of the state.  This weekend was to correct that and fill in all the bits.

After church on Sunday we piled into the van and headed north to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Our destination for the day was a hotel just south of Asheville NC, near the Biltmore area. Along the way we stopped off at Mount Mitchell, which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi.  The best thing: you can drive within 500ft of the summit.

One would think that this would lead to an awesome post of amazing views of mountain ranges, and stunning vistas of things seen for miles and miles.  Sadly this is not the case.  You see the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee had moved inland from Louisiana to North Carolina, and brought with it an amazing amount of rain and fog.  So most of our views were less than stellar.

We did get to see why the area is known as the Smokey Mountains tho. The views reminded me of the Misty Mountains from The Hobbit fame.

So once we finished Mount Mitchell, and claimed the virtual AND earthcache on its summit, we headed strait to the hotel.  Once checked in we spent the rest of the afternoon caching in the general area, and claiming the first of 4 Delorme pages in the process. We then did some shopping for me (REI - hello!) , and for Zeke (Toy Store - yeah baby).

Since our adventure reached an intermission, it seems only fitting to add one in my post. So I give you...


The next day we headed north to the Smokey Mountain National Park and did the only easily accessible cache on that Delorme page at the Mingus Mill.  Along the way we grabbed another cache to claim another Delorme Page. 

At this point there is only one page left to claim for this trip, and it was the page on the western most point of the state. So off we raced to the western-most points of North Carolina and made the grab. Our mission complete there was only one thing left to do:  Cache our way home.

One of the features of our drive west was the Nantahala River, which is a windy fast flowing river used by white water rafters.  Due to all the rain the area received in the last two days, the river was full and fast flowing.  We stopped to check it out on the way back.

We arrived home at 8:30PM soggy after braving the wind, rains, and mountain passes of North Carolina.

What a great way to spend a labour day.