We are at the absolutely gorgeous Indian Creek Campground near Cherokee, North Carolina. We are near, and we use the term loosely, Cherokee, NC. On a good day, with little to no traffic, we can get from the campsite to town in about 35 minutes. It’s a twisting, curvy ride and not for the faint of heart.
If you follow the white line that is the road, you will see how far away we are. We found ourselves at the most coveted campsite of the campground. We were in Site #6.
This is the view from our campsite where our humble servant prepared our first breakfast.
Here we are looking up the creek, just behind the camper. Spectacular scenery.
Cherokee is headquarters to the Cherokee Indian Nation. These mountains, valleys, streams, sky and all within are sacred to the Cherokee people and are protected by the tribe. All of the signs and most of the buildings have their names in both English and Cherokee. Our Princess, who holds her Hawaiian Islands sacred, felt a kinship with the tribe.
Cherokee sits on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.
While here, our Princess got her first view of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This is one of the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Here are Bunches Bald Overlook, we could see for miles and miles.
As we were twisting and turning through the Smoky Mountains, we came across this big fellow just taking it easy. He was resting beside the road and no one wanted to tell him otherwise. This was our first elk sighting since we began our travels. We were pleased to see this one elk, but were overwhelmed when we saw this on our way up the mountain.
We lost count at 37 elk as more kept appearing from the forest. We could hear the bulls trumpeting and keeping watch over their cows and calves.
These females and calves were enjoying the cool weather.
On our way into town, we passed the entrance to Mingo Falls. We took a morning ‘stroll’ up to the falls. It may have only been .4 mile, but it was all up hill, including 92 stairs.
HRH is especially fond of waterfalls having seem many on her beautiful Hawaiian Islands. It was a cool walk, with the steps and trail slippery from the rain.
Our Princess marveling at the beauty of the mountains while showing a bit of University of Hawaii Warrior pride.
While climbing to the falls, we encountered this big wasp nest. Fortunately, it was abandon. We did not want to meet the inhabitants.
We decided on a sunny morning, we would drive to Clingman’s Dome, at 6,643 feet is the tallest point in Tennessee. This is just over the mountains and we managed to get there in just over an hour.
When we got to the welcome center, here was our view.
We’ll have to wait till our next visit to see the view.
We were also unprepared for much cooler weather on the summit.
Naturally, it would not be a proper adventure if there was not good eating and drinking. We made sure there was plenty of both.
We were fortunate this trip coincided with friends Tom and Misty Casey. They have a cabin in North Carolina and we traveled opposite directions and met in the middle at Bogart’s Restaurant & Tavern in Waynesville, NC. We all dined on beef. The food was very good and the company was stellar.
Our Princess chose Franklin, NC, as our next destination. We fell in love with the town and hope to return soon.
The proprietors, Rick and Sarah Miller have a delightful and eclectic shop on Main St. in Franklin. We spent way too much time and money, but were captivated by Sarah. She has really nice clothes and is just the most fun to talk to.
We had lunch at Root + Barrel, an upscale restaurant on Main Street. The food was very good and the atmosphere was top notch.
Across the street from Root + Barrel is a wonderful, independent bookstore called Books Unlimited. Our Princess cannot stand to pass a bookstore without stopping and browsing through the stacks. As we were searching for that next good find, Her Royal Highness discovered a display with books completely wrapped in paper. The books were being sold for $3.00 each and the only catch was after you read the book, you would e-mail a review.
These were the two books we selected. We will let you know what our reviews are. Great fun, n’est pas!
On our second trip to Franklin, we stopped at the Gold City Gem Mine. If you’ve never been to one of these gem mines, you purchase a bucket of dirt that may or may not have raw gems in them.
You take your bucket outside where they have water trough and boxes with screen in the bottom. You pour some of your dirt into the box and then you wash away the mud and dirt and you are left with stones. Some of the stones are just rocks, some are quartz and some are raw gems. We found rubies, emeralds and amethyst. Some were small, but others were large enough to have cut and set into jewelry. What a fun experience.
We had a most wonderful time in North Carolina. We so look forward to returning. We leave here and head to Kentucky and Mammoth Caves.