Readers of our last blog probably realized that we were scraping the bottom of the barrel for new blog material. Our activities last week consisted of more preparations for moving into our new house in September and, as a result, we are scraping the barrel again this week.
We mentioned last week that that the closing on our house is scheduled for September 4th so we have a good idea of who will win our guess-our-house-completion-date contest (And the Winner Is…). However, things can change so we will not announce a winner until the closing actually occurs.
We continued to camp last week at Lake Powhatan in the Pisgah National Forest, southeast of Asheville.
Our (last?) camp site with our Airstream at Lake Powhatan–we look forward to having reliable phone and internet service so we will no longer have to search for locations where our phones work, like on top of the picnic table. Lake Powhatan is in the Bent Creek area which is packed with hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the North Carolina Arboretum.
We have complained about living in our 30-foot trailer for more than a year but we were amazed that two of our camping neighbors spent the night in this trailer—sort of the camping equivalent of a circus clown car. Of course they were also gone after one night. We met other neighbors who were originally from Gainesville and had lived in a trailer for three years. After our experience with trailer life, we are very impressed with any couple that can live happily in a trailer for more than a year.
Nearby in the Pisgah National Forest is an area known as the Cradle of Forestry where the scientific practice of forestry management began in America. It started here because the owner of the Biltmore Estate, George Vanderbilt, wanted to restore the forests that had been clear-cut on the small plot of land he owned in the Asheville area–125,000 acres. Vanderbilt already hired a pretty good landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead who designed New York City’s Central Park. Olmstead told Vanderbilt he needed a “Forest Manager” so he hired Gifford Pinchot who developed and implemented a plan to manage Vanderbilt’s forests. Pinchot later became the first chief of the United States Forest Service.
As always, we shared the showers with daddy longlegs, some of the biggest we have seen on our trip. They are not dangerous but, for some reason, Patty still prefers not to shower with them.
Speaking of showers, our blog is winding down so we would like to use this forum to resolve a personal hygiene difference of opinion. Ed normally starts his shower with his lower extremities and ends with his face. Patty thinks this is gross and starts with her face and works her way down her body. To determine who has the best approach, please respond to the following survey:
Desperate for blog-worthy material, Ed insisted that we take a break from house-related activities and visit Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of Colorado. It is located about 20 miles northeast of Asheville as the crow flies, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Blue Ridge Parkway as seen from Mount Mitchell
Scaling Mount Mitchell is not too challenging because you can drive to this point. There is also a snack bar so you can prepare yourself for the climb to the summit at an elevation of 6,684 feet (a daunting elevation increase of 106 feet).
Foliage on Mount Mitchell (a la Ansel Adams)
Flora and fauna on Mount Mitchell—the bugs in the bottom right photo were everywhere and got all over our clothes. We initially thought they were ticks but were somewhat relieved to find out they were weevils. The Park Ranger indicated there was a recent infestation of the bugs at the top of the mountain but they were dying out. Some of the bugs clung to our car windows all the way back to Asheville and Ed found one crawling on his leg the next day.
Finally, Ed was in the campground bathroom and happened to be looking at the infant changing table when he noticed markings on the table that looked like Braille letters.
Infant changing table with a message in Braille—Ed was intrigued so he went to the Internet and, after considerable study, discovered that the first line of the message was “Never leave child unattended.” This warning is also included on the inside of the changing table in seven different languages. As with the previous warning labels we have discussed in previous blogs on beach balls and ravioli, is this really necessary?
[Editor’s note: Ed came up with the title of our last blog, I Will Tow No More Forever, which is a play on the famous quotation attributed to the great Chief George of the Nez Perce: “I will fight no more forever”.]