For my mothers birthday I had planned to get up early and make breakfast and have everything laid out. Sometimes plans have to be revised, breakfast was not coming together that morning…Ah now that I remember we were trying to get the fire going and it wouldn’t go. I had also slept in longer than I wanted. I won’t say that I might have woken through out the night afraid there were bears coming into our campsite….but that is what happened.
So we finally called it and it became the perfect excuse to go into Hendersonville to get coffee and breakfast and to show mom around a little as well. I then planned on us going to Kelsey and I’s favorite coffee shop. After we had found a parking spot and then started walking towards the shop and to what should have been the shop I got very confused as there was no coffee shop. Mom was a little concerned that I was lost and didn’t know where I was going as we were standing infant of an empty building. There was a shop owner who was coming out of another building and I was able to catch her she then told us the the shop had closed down.
Everywhere I turn the aftermath of 2020 shows its bloody hand and continues to do so. Some places have faired better than others but it becomes harder and harder for business when much of the economy for many small towns and even cities are from tourism. I know small business, shop owners, creatives are trying their best to navigate around the uncertainties.
Anyways, end rant on that. It was just one of those disappointing and sad realities. Mom and I then walked back up the street to Black Bear Coffee instead. Black Bear Coffee is just fine and they have been around for a long time. I just really loved the other coffee shop. They had books that you could read while sipping on your coffee, they also had some games and they also had a children’s area so parents, care givers could come in and have a moment to visit, chat maybe do a little work have coffee while their children could entertain themselves.
We went in, ordered and then went outside to eat and wait until Mast General Store opened for the day. Mast General Store has been around for generations and has a very long history in the mountains of North Carolina. In Hendersonville there are two stories with the upstairs being for your more specific outdoor genera. Mom was really needing some hiking polls and so for her birthday that was what I was wanting to get for her. When we got there and asked the employees there was only one pair that they had left and it wasn’t fully what mom was wanting so the clerk then went to check on their shipment that they had received to see if they had gotten any. They ended up having a couple boxes that had come in of hiking polls and mom was able to find a pair that she liked.
We bought the polls and then headed out for the day to drive North along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt Mitchell at well over 6,000 ft Mt Mitchell is the highest Peak on the east coast. It is along the Appalachian Trail so you’ll come across some thru hikers, weekend backpackers and day hikers and those who are taking a drive along the Parkway and take a stop for some views and fresh air.
Before getting to Mt Mitchell we took our time driving along the parkway topping at the overlooks and then taking a stop at the Craggy Pinnacle Gardens. We got out here to check it out and do the nature trail, its a little late in the season to see the Rhododendrons which is what the Craggy Gardens are known for. One of these years I will be out there to see them in bloom in the spring. Mom got to figure out her hiking polls and we were able to stretch our legs a bit. Craggy Gardens has great places to take a picnic to have a lunch or have a bbq with family, friends or whom ever.
After we had finished there we got back into the car to start heading to Mt Mitchell. There was a storm that was starting to roll in and we were constantly trying to get ahead of it. So we didn’t stop between Craggy and Mt Mitchell as much so we could try and get up there quickly. We ended up meeting up with the storm at Mt Mitchell. The storm made the day in between this warm and chilly day. It really couldn’t make up its mind on what it wanted to be. For about 5 minutes you’d put a light jacket on because it’d start getting chilly and then you’d take it off because you’d start getting hot. Then you weren’t sure if you should wear your rain jacket or not.
It was a lot like dating a guy who didn’t know if they wanted to be dating you or not but then kept dating you. And then somehow you where the one who felt bipolar by it all. eh…I mean who knew weather could be a good example of dating…but there you have it.
The Mt Mitchell rode was beautiful driving up and it was nice to see the views in Summer time. Last time I saw the views was in the winter and the Mt Mitchell summit trail ended up being too icy for me to fully hike the thing. This time mom didn’t feel up to hiking the trail and we would have gotten caught in the storm. Sometimes we just have to know that we aren’t going to be able to do all of the things that we’d like to and make it work with which is available to you.
I figured that this trip would be heavy on the driving and that we wouldn’t be able to do all of the hiking. Mom’s knees haven’t been great and she is needing surgery on them and mom has been working on being more active. I hope that one day mom and I can go and do some sort of backpacking trip together but if not I know that there are other adventures that we can go and do as well.
With the storm rolling in on top of Mt Mitchell we had some misty, foggy views on one side and sunny cloudy views on the other. It’s always fun being at the summit and talking with everyone else who is up there all of us admiring, taking pictures and helping each other take pictures of one another.
After Mt Mitchell we kept heading north along the Parkway till reaching 80. If we would have had time I would have loved to keep going to get over to Little Switzerland. We stopped at a couple more overlooks till getting to 80 where we then turned west along the road to head Roaring Fork Falls. This was another short hike for us to do and mom really loves waterfalls and well it was her birthday so waterfall it was. 80 is this topsy turvy road in all directions and I’m not sure how people live along this road but there are. We made it to the trail just a few others were out for this hike. This trail is mostly wide, flat and short.
I will say that the pictures do not do this waterfall justice at all. It was impressive but then again I live in Utah and we only have seasonal waterfalls and your lucky if you come across them so….there’s that.
The original plan was to head back to camp and cleaned up so mom and I could then go back to Sierra Nevada for moms birthday dinner. We got back to camp and we were both spent from the day so we ended up hanging out that evening back at camp. We got the fire going we made dinner and then played some card games. So I have never been good at playing cards. It’s only been in the last few years that I have taken any kind of interest in them.
This was our last day camping and out on the Blue Ridge. The next morning we got up took camp down went and got coffee and breakfast and then the drive back to Knoxville. Back to the airport, back on the plane and back to life again.
When planning your trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Asheville area here are some websites
For Asheville specific –here
Blue Ridge Parkway-here
North Mills River Recreation – Campground we stayed at-here
Hendersonville-check calendar for Festivals –here
Also with some great hiking, mountain biking and all around fun Pisgah National Forest
I hope these sites help you plan and create your own adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains