Driving On The AT

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Jan 25, 2012

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Saturday, May 21, 2011

We spent the afternoon with Bill Butcher and his girlfriend, Misty.  A lovely couple, who treated us to great hospitality at their home, then a great sushi dinner in downtown Asheville.  They had some great travel stories to share, as they were recently in Beijing, China.  China sounds less and less appealing the more I learn about it.  But, Bill and Misty were quick to adapt in their surroundings.  What troopers.

After a stroll around downtown -- what a great vibe Asheville has -- we headed out of town for a place to camp for the night.  We drove a bit out of town into the National Forest.  Mark knew of the Rock Creek Campground not too far away.  Unfortunately, it was jam-packed on a Saturday night.  Of the 40+ campsites, there was only 1 free spot.  But with so many RV's -- many with Christmas lights strung around their awnings, we weren't too keen on the place.  We saw a couple of nearby forest roads, a regular favorite for us.  I'd really only wanted a developed campground to make use of a real toilet.  We got that without having to pay the $20 camping fee at Rock Creek.

Instead, we explored a forest road that headed to Beauty Spot Gap.  That location had to be beautiful, right?  We drove up, up, up a hill.  The paved road turned to dirt, and our GPS system indicated that we were "Driving on the Appalachian Trail."  As the AT is specifically closed to motorized vehicles, we found that designation particularly funny.  So, we snapped a photo to prove that we did, in fact, drive on the Appalachian Trail.

Beauty Spot was, in fact, a beautiful spot.  We arrived at sunset and found a perfect camping site.  Complete with fire ring and lots of firewood for a roaring campfire.  We spent another wonderful night by a fire, just chatting and enjoying the gorgeous late spring weather.

Morning brought motivation, so I took Samson out for a nice run along the AT -- including the forest road we'd driven in on.  Beauty Spot proved to be particularly popular that morning, as 3 cars arrived at the campsite within 15 minutes of each other.  None of the cars were together.  They just all picked that time to arrive.  After chatting a bit, we finished packing up and headed back to Blacksburg.  Mark was due in surgery in two days -- again.  Time to get home and under go more repair work.  But, this one will hopefully be the last for a while.
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