Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015-06-12 The Blue Ridge BBQ Festival

The Piglet Enemy BBQ Team
at the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival
Tryon, NC
Friday, June 12th, 2015

My buddies Jeff, Steve and Eric of the Piglet Enemy BBQ team are competing in this years Blue Ridge BBQ Festival. 
The Piglet Enemy BBQ
L to R:  Steve-O, Jeff, and Eric

So after work, Amy and I drove up to Tryon to hang out for the evening!

Amy and Steve

The new Piglet Enemy BBQ Trailer

 Steve and Jeff hanging out

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

2015-05-31 Transylvania County Waterfall Wandering

Transylvania County Waterfall Wandering
and Brewery Imbibing
with Amy and Brenda
Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Jack and Amy by a waterfall on Carson Creek

About halfway between Caesars Head, SC and Brevard, NC there is a parking area along US276 for Connestee Falls.  A public access overlook provides a less than optimal view of the falls.  To get a much better view of Connestee Falls, you need to hike the trails inside the Connestee Falls development.

Unfortunately, this is a gated community.  The only way to legally hike these trails is by being a property owner or guest.

Several years ago the CMLC (Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy) led a hike inside the development and I jumped at the chance!

Note: CMLC is offering another hike inside Connestee Falls on June 13th, 2015.  So if you are eager to see this waterfall in person, join CMLC to take advantage of this rare opportunity!

The only problem with CMLC hikes is that they usually have a large turnout, which is not optimal for us photography nerds!   However, through this CMLC hike I got to meet one of the property owners who offered to allow me future access to hike the trails as her guest.  I decided to take her up on this offer and brought my wife Amy and our friend Brenda along as well.

Since Amy and I were running ahead of schedule as usual, we made the quick stop at Caesars Head to check our the view.  While I have been to this overlook dozens of times, the morning clouds usually offer something different every time.  This morning was no exception.

View from the Caesars Head Overlook

After Caesars Head, we picked up Brenda and proceeded on to Connestee Falls where we met Carol and her husband George.

Despite the 0% chance of rain in the weather forecast the rain was coming down in buckets when we arrived.  This was enough that Carol and George decided to opt out of the hike.  However, they did allow us access inside the gated community, led us to the trailhead, and even gave us a nice trail guide with maps and descriptions of all the trails inside the development.

By the time we got to the trailhead and gathered our gear together the rain had pretty much stopped.  Right at the trailhead is an awesome view of the valley down below!

 view from the Connestee Falls Ogana Trailhead

We started out by hiking to the Connestee Falls overlook via sections of the Ogana Trail, Middle Falls Trail, and Amakola Trail, which gave us this view!

Connestee Falls

 Connestee Falls

We then backtracked slightly to the Cave Trail and hiked the Carson Creek Trail in the clockwise direction.

This is a beautiful trail!  A series of  switchbacks descends about 300 feet in elevation down to Carson Creek
 Amy and Brenda hiking down one of the many switchbacks along the Carson Creek Trail

The trail then follows a short section of the Carson Creek passing by a series of beautiful cascades and small waterfalls.  This truly is an awesome trail!

 Cascades along Carson Creek

 Cascades along Carson Creek

Small Waterfall along Carson Creek

Eventually the trail leaves Carson Creek and begins another series of switchbacks up the mountainside.

 Tiny Mushrooms on a twig along the Carson Creek Trail

There are about 12 additional miles of trails inside the development that we didn't hike.  I hope to get another opportunity to return in the future.  I could easily spend a whole day here, but we had other stuff on our agenda that we wanted to get to!

This next waterfall is one of my favorites! 

 Waterfall on Private Property

This beauty has always been on private property.  However, until recently, the owners would allow public access to a really nice trail that leads to the waterfall.    Unfortunately some A-Holes have trashed and vandalized the property and now the owners understandably no longer allow public access!

The trail to this one is now officially closed to the public!

Waterfall on Private Property

While I have never actually met the property owner, I have communicated with her via eMail in the past.  I sent her a note to request permission to visit with Amy and Brenda.  We were granted permission, but again we were asked to to post any details as to the location of this beauty.  So other than it being located in Transylvania County, you are not going to get any more details out of me!

 Brenda and Amy (upper left) by the Waterfall on Private Property

 for a sense of scale - Here is Brenda by the Waterfall on Private Property

   Jack and Amy by the Waterfall on Private Property

Our next plan for the afternoon was to visit a couple of local breweries in the town of Brevard, NC.  Since neither brewery serves food, we decided to grab a bit to eat first.  We ended up at a place called HobNob.
Brenda at HobNob

They had a really nice outdoor seating area, and my Cheeseburger was excellent.  Brenda, who is 100% Vegan did not get the Cheeseburger!  I think she was a little disappointed that they only had one Vegan item on the menu, but she said what she got (Vegan Scramble) was pretty good.

Amy and Jack at HobNob

After our late lunch/early dinner it was time to hit the breweries.  First up was Brevard Brewing Company!

 Me outside the Brevard Brewing Company

Next up was Oscar Blues Brewery!

 Brenda and Jack heading up to the Oscar Blues tasting room

Brenda and Amy at Oscar Blues

Both breweries are awesome and well worth the visit if you are into the craft beer scene!  Brenda preferred Brevard Brewing Company, while I preferred Oscar Blues!  I would not turn down the opportunity to revisit either of them!

Thanks Brenda for picking up the Beer Tab!
Thanks Amy for being our designated driver (and my awesome wife!)
Thanks Carol for allowing us access into Connestee Falls!
Thanks Debby for allowing us access to your beautiful waterfall!
Thanks to the nice lady at the Connestee Falls Realty office for providing a restroom for Amy and Brenda!
and finally, thanks to the waitress at the HobNob for running down the street after us just to let us know how good Amy smells!  (Yes, that is a true story!)

It was an awesome day!

The complete set of photos is posted here: