At the beginning of October, Jared and I decided we should have one last family hoorah before the baby arrives. We decided to head west for a camping trip in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Unfortunately the weather was not so cooperative and we basically got rained on for two days straight before we decided to cut the trip short. It was a bit of a bummer but we still managed to have a good time in spite of mother nature and we were even able to catch a first little glimpse of fall foilage along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
All packed up and ready to go!
Our first stop. Morrow Mountain, a nice, well kept state park outside of Charlotte.
Caroline's first camping trip-she had a great time!
Next stop, Lake Lure (where Dirty Dancing was filmed) and Chimney Rock State Park.
In case you are curious, this is what it looks like trying to take a picture with three kids and a dog on top of a mountain on a big rock shaped like a chimney when all of the above mentioned are trying to fall to their death off of said rock. Stressful. :)
More from Chimney Rock:
After leaving Chimney Rock, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove to Mount Mitchell: the highest peak east of the Mississippi at over 6600 feet. This is where the trip got a little hairy. We arrived at the park after dark and the ranger warned us that black bears were a real problem so all food had to be kept locked away. (Scary!) It was also freezing outside and the ranger also warned that foul weather was iminent. However, since it was already 8:00 and we were on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the middle of nowhere, driving to a hotel didn't seem like a viable option. Another bummer was that we couldn't drive into the campsite, we would have to carry all our gear (in the dark, in the cold, with the bears) about 100 yards into the site. This wouldn't have been that big of deal under different conditions but after a brief scare with a bear* in our would-be campsite, I said no thanks. (*I didn't see a bear, but our dog Ruby, who never barks, was growling and going crazy barking at the tall brush that surrounded our campsite. There was definitely something lurking in those weeds!) So, this is what we ended up with. Something Mitchell termed a "pop-up camper" in the parking lot. Our kids thought it was pretty much the coolest thing ever. It was windy and rainy all night but we stayed dry and we didn't get attacked by any bears so while it wasn't ideal, I'd still call it a success.
All and all it was a good trip. Had the weather been better, it would have been amazing! Thankfully our kids LOVE to camp and kids in general are pretty resiliant. To them, a make shift tent on a trailer turns into a "pop-up camper" and dense fog and rain turns into an adventure "sleeping in the clouds."
The Blue Ridge Parkway has been on my list for awhile so even though the weather dampered things a bit, it still didn't disappoint. We'll definitely head back under more favorable conditions. :)