This area is chuck full of trails and some of the best are most easily accessed via Vogel State Park which has a beautiful lake to boot.
Fondest memory: We’d arrived to see good friends later than we’d planned, even later than they expected a perennially late friend show up. It was even surprisingly late to me and I was the one or engineered the whole thing! A small trip to Myrtle Beach, SC to meet a good buddy had mushroomed into visiting the aforementioned friends in their new vacation home in Georgia since they’d already planned on being there at the same time as our planned excursion. My problem is always seeing things on the way and this starts long before the way is in sight in the form of maps. For me Ashville, NC and Smoky Mountain National Park were on the way to Blairsville, GA. Most people might not see it that way but once I have it in my mind that they are, I just can’t seem to get around the idea of going there, no matter how constrained my time is. So, a trip was born that would cover 2100 miles in six days. We hit Savannah, Myrtle Beach, and Ashville with no glitches. We were humming right along on schedule until we got to the Smokies later than anticipated and began a hike that would assuredly get us to our day’s destination late. Just how late it might be somehow escaped me despite all logical evidence pointing to such an outcome. But we had done it and there was no denying my selfish choice. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: Luckily our friends were gracious and I really had tried to call and let them know I was running late as is my tradition but there was no cell phone coverage in the deep mountain valley. As chance would have it they had found an abandoned puppy that day and it kept them more than occupied. Looking back on it, it was probably a good thing I’d not bypassed my hike to get there on time when what would have likely greeted me would have been a day sitting around watching a puppy get used to his new home. Sure, we had a lot to talk about. We’d not seen each other in a couple years. But we would just stay up a bit later than normal and that’s just what we did. The next day we would do all the sightseeing they’d likely planned for our first day. We were too sore from our first hike of the season to do much more but we could see lots of potential in the area for future trips. In fact, we already have a long hike planned for October. My buddy has wanted to do it since buying the house but it’s a bit long for his son and wife. So, we’ll head back up there when it’s our sole destination. The leaves will be changing and the air a bit cooler too. I just hope I don’t see anything on the way. This is one time I plan on being on time.