When you get to Asheville, send me an e-mail.
Tell me how you’re doing, how it’s treating you.
Did you find a new job?
Did you find a new love?
Is it everything that you were dreaming of?
Lyrics from When You Get to Asheville, written by Edie Brickell and Steve Martin
We spent last week in different locations—Patty in Hawthorne, New Jersey and Ed in Asheville, North Carolina, our future home. Patty was helping her parents and Ed was trying to complete the to-do list Patty left for him—find doctors and a dentist, find a storage facility for our Airstream, inspect the house, etc., etc. Ed was watching PBS one night and Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers were performing for a typical public TV fundraising drive. For those who don’t know, Steve Martin, the former comedian, is a very good banjo player and won a Grammy for his bluegrass album, The Crow. Steve writes original bluegrass music and Edie Brickell (one of Ed’s favorite singer/songwriters and also wife of Paul Simon) writes the lyrics. Coincidentally, most of the Steep Canyon Rangers live in the Asheville area. Ed saw this show as a sign that we are moving to the right place.
In response to the lyrics above (especially with Patty out-of-town), Ed would like to make it clear that he is not looking for a new job or a new love and he has not found either. And Ed cannot yet confirm that Asheville is everything he was dreaming of but, so far, it looks very good. By the way, the music of Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and the Steep Canyon Rangers is great and Steve is hilarious between songs—we will definitely be checking their tour schedule to see when they are near Asheville. Click here to see them performing When You Get to Asheville on Late Night with David Letterman.
Ed assumed that our readers would not be very interested in who our new doctors will be so he took a day off from completing his to-do list to hike to several waterfalls along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway runs for 469 miles from Cherokee, NC near Smoky Mountains National Park to Waynesboro, VA where it connects to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. The Parkway provides a beautiful leisurely drive (45 mph max) along the crest of the mountains but, more importantly, it provides access to many great hiking trails.
Early morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Parkway—the “blue” is caused by chemicals released from trees that react with ozone and create haze that scatters blue light. Air pollution has made the haze worse in many areas and, if not controlled, the name may have to be changed to the Gray Ridge.
Second Falls. This falls and Upper Falls are accessed from the Graveyard Fields Overlook on the Parkway. Unfortunately, the overlook was closed for construction. Fortunately, a security guard showed Ed how to get around the safety barriers to get to the falls. (This was after National Park Service personnel told Ed the trails were closed until July, but Ed was determined to bring back waterfall photos for our loyal blog readers.)
The trail to Upper Falls
The lower section of the Upper Falls
Upper Falls. Second Falls? Upper Falls? They need to get a little more creative in naming these waterfalls.
Skinny Dip Falls—now that’s a good name.
Downstream of Skinny Dip Falls
Ed cooling off downstream of Skinny Dip Falls—because of the name, Ed felt obligated to disrobe.
Unfortunately Fortunately, there was no one around to take his full photo.
Looking Glass Falls—this falls is right next to the road so (surprise) it was packed with people.
A close-up of Looking Glass Falls
Last but not least–Moore Falls. That’s five waterfalls in one day. According to Ed’s guide book, North Carolina Waterfalls, there are about 1000 to 1500 waterfalls in NC with 500 major ones so we still have a lot of exploring to do.
During his hiking, Ed crossed the Mountains-to-Sea Trail which is planned to run almost 1,000 miles across North Carolina from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks. Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is probably never going to happen but we should be able to hike a significant portion of this trail that runs through Asheville.
Wildflowers along the trail—bottom left are rhododendrons which are everywhere and just starting to bloom.
Last week was Beer Week in Asheville with craft beer-related events all week, culminating in the Beer Week Festival on Saturday with beers from thirty breweries and live music. Ed was considering going but he decided to buy a six-pack instead and sit by the brook next to our campsite and read. It was a lot cheaper and no designated driver was required.
Ed enjoying a brew and reading the autobiography of Marjory Stoneman Douglas entitled Voice of the River. She wrote her most famous book, The Everglades: River of Grass, in 1947 at age 57, started the Friends of the Everglades at age 79 to protect and restore the Everglades, and wrote her autobiography at age 97. It makes us realize that we still have plenty of time to do something worthwhile now that our engineering and nursing careers are over.
Be not simply good – be good for something.–Henry David Thoreau