Halfway Home

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Since we have been in Asheville, many people have told us that we are becoming “halfbacks”.  Halfbacks are people who move from northern states to Florida, and then decide to move back north, but not all the way back. Like us, a lot of these halfbacks now end up in the Carolinas.

We are not sure why people become halfbacks but probably, like us, many become tired of the unending Florida heat and humidity and miss the four seasons. However, after living in Florida they decide they do not want to face a real northern winter every year so they head north, but not too far.

Of course, weather was not the only reason we are moving to Asheville (see our blog, Asheville or Bust), and we continued to explore Asheville and the surrounding areas last week. While Patty was still in New Jersey, Ed did some more hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Ed’s first destination—Mount Pisgah. This is one of the most recognizable mountains in the Asheville area due to the antenna on it summit.

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The trail to the top of Mount Pisgah includes several rhododendron tunnels.

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Rhododendrons are starting to bloom everywhere along the Parkway.

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View from the top of Mount Pisgah—you can see the parking lot where Ed began his hike in the lower right-hand corner of the photo.

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The WLOS TV antenna on Mount Pisgah has been a source of controversy for many years. The owners wanted to build a new antenna but that project was stopped after protests by the Parkway and conservation groups.

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Devil’s Courthouse—it’s a short but mostly vertical hike to the top from the Parkway.

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Greenery in the shade along the trail

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View from the top of Devil’s Courthouse—they say you can see North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee from this spot but it was a cloudy day when Ed was there.

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A view of Looking Glass Rock from the Parkway—when its rock face gets wet, especially in the winter, it reflects light like a mirror.

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Ed stopped at the Pisgah Inn on the Parkway for lunch. Besides the restaurant, the Inn rents rooms with the view above—not a bad place to sit in a rocking chair and relax in between hikes.

After Patty returned from New Jersey, we moved our Airstream from a private campground near Asheville to the Ash Grove Campground outside of Brevard, NC. Brevard is about an hour south of Asheville—it’s a quaint town where people go to avoid the hustle and bustle of Asheville.  The campground is not far from Dupont State Forest which is a great area for hiking and mountain biking.

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Patty on Cascade Lake—this man-made lake is adjacent to Dupont State Park and allows you to kayak into the park. We launched our kayaks from the Cascade Lake Recreation Area which is privately-owned and includes a large campground.

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Patty with mountain laurel along the shore—after rhododendrons, mountain laurel is probably the most common wildflower in the area (we even have some in our future backyard).

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Ed in front of Hooker Falls—kayaking to a waterfall was a first for us.

Water fall Collage

Another view of Hooker Falls, with and without people—while we often complain about the impact of people on nature, we are glad to see people enjoying it. After all, it was a Saturday afternoon.

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Ed approaches Hooker Falls (he now realizes he needs a whitewater kayak).

We met with our house builder last week and everything seems to be progressing well—a closing date should be set in a couple of weeks. One of the things we really like about our future neighborhood is the trail system, including a very nice trail around our neighborhood lake.

Biltmore Lake Collage

Scenes from the trails in our future neighborhood—we consider the lake to be our own Walden Pond with mountains. As Thoreau said: “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Ed would like to relate one more totally unrelated issue that occurred last week while Patty was gone. He was preparing tortellini and, being a former engineer, he was carefully following the cooking instructions.  However, the instructions included the following statement:

“Cook uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until reaching a minimum internal tortellini temperature of 165 degrees F for at least 15 seconds.”

Really? Check the internal temperature of the tortellini to see if it has reached 165 degrees? Here’s a photo of the tortellini.

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This is another example of a company’s effort to avoid being sued if you become sick from eating their product.  Defense attorney: “So you admit Mr. Prestemon that you did not confirm that each tortellini had reached 165 degrees for 15 seconds!”  This is our second most favorite example of a company trying to avoid liability—our favorite was for beach balls as discussed in our blog, Global Warning.

 

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