Mt Mitchell II With Bob - 7/8/13

(Documentary in nature so I can get back - and remember where I've been.)

Bob and I drove up Mt. Mitchell, had lunch at park restaurant then coming back took first gravel road to left on parkway. The road - unmarked (it is S. Toe River Road) - follows the S. Toe River down the mountain, crossing several times over solid rock bridges, Yesterday the water was fast and bouncy. This road, well maintained gravel, is used by campers and hikers who park off the side and go into the woods. We saw three vehicles. At the bottom past a few expensive homes we encountered an odd confluence of roads, none of them marked. We tried two in what seemed the correct direction but ran into dead ins. I remember taking the one to the left, but according to Google maps it was the one to the right. I do know that the Toe river remained on the left side and we passed more houses. In any event the road went past a golf course and ended up at highway 80.

Turning right we would have gone South across the parkway then back down the mountain toward Shelby.

We went left. Bob wanted to show me Burnsville where he has been before (he has been to all these places and more-or-less remembers how to get there). Like many of these little mountain towns we have seen in NC, Tennessee,  Kentucky North Georgia and Alabama it seems somewhat depressed. Fallen in houses, empty commercial buildings and abandoned restaurants, sagging trailers surrounded by rusting vehicles. I always wonder where the money comes from to support these places. There is still some feldspar mining (Bob says it is used by factories in eastern NC to make plates etc - that this is one of the major cup/plate/saucer places in the US). I think that much of the money must come from welfare; Bob thinks a lot is brought in by wealthy retirees.

After Burnsville we went back past Penland which is where the arts school is located - Karen, Lynn, Jay and I went there. It was in Penland, when we stopped so that I could take a picture of a more-than quaint post office. I was chased by a mean Chow looking dog.

Then we went through Spruce Pine, past Humpback Road where Ladley lives, (whom Bob and I have known since before the beginning of time) then across Parkway and back down Pepper's Creek Road (1566 - the other dirt road) to Highway 221 and home.

Burning clouds seen from Mt. Mitchell.

S, Toe River road

One of several crossings over headwaters of S. Toe River


Alongside road.

Entropy at work.

Dog on right seemed friendly when I got out to shoot pictures. Dog on left ran out from behind building to chase me back in vehicle. We speculate that the post-mistress loosed dog because she didn't like us and dog knowing everybody in town performed his duty.

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