We've spent the last few days enjoying the fresh air of the North Carolina mountains. Or maybe I should have said the cool, fresh air of the mountains for the mornings have been significantly cooler than what we've been used to at home. It's a delightful change.
We headed off yesterday morning to explore a few waterfalls. The first one was Dry Falls which was anything but dry. I'm not sure any of us would say this was a sterling picture of us but it's still a great memory from our time together.
Right after the first photo was taken, we followed the trail back behind the falls. It was cool to look down the valley through the water cascading from overhead but it was wet too. There's not a lot of color in the leaves here yet but the scenery is still pretty.
After lunch in Highlands, we headed for Glen Falls. This one required a hike of a little over a mile, all downhill to get to the falls and all uphill to get back. It wasn't the best terrain for my bunk buddy's bad knees but he toughed it out.
The falls were really pretty when we got there, however. Unlike Dry Fall with it's wide but basically single drop, this one was a series of smaller falls all of which combined to make an impressive sight. There were a number of others going up and down the trail with us but it was still not crowded. I love the peaceful feeling of walking in the woods.
Today we did something entirely different. Hiram and Bonnie went one way, off to visit their son two hours away, and we went mining. It was a blast. We filled buckets of dirt that had been dug from a creek bed and set about finding some treasure.
Then we scooped small amounts into a small box with a screen in the bottom and washed the dirt away to reveal rocks which we hoped were gems. You could buy buckets that had been "salted" with gems, referred to as "instant gratification buckets" by the mining staff, but we wanted the thrill of finding whatever we found on our own.
And we were pretty impressed with what we found. Garnets, rubies, a topaz and an emerald, just to name a few. The colors aren't great in the photo as that big rock in the group at the lower left is a really pretty blue-green. There's moonstone and sunstone and tourmaline too. We were having so much fun we stayed way longer than we originally intended.
We're heading north in the morning with Ohio as the night's destination. I fully expect there will be more fun in the upcoming days, but when you're hanging out with your best friends, how can there not be?