Friday, June 23, 2017

2017-06-13 Thyen Family Vacation to Asheville - Day 4

The Thyen Family Vacation
Asheville, NC
Day 4  (The Day of the Bear)
Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

 Mary and Liam at Lunch Rock along the MST

One of my favorite things about this year's vacation was our early morning hikes.  I tend to be an early riser, and was usually the first one up.  I would enjoy views on the front porch with my morning coffee while waiting for others to emerge from their slumber.

 Morning Twilight view from the Front Porch

This morning my Sister Mary and Nephew Liam were up early as well.

Liam and Mary

The three of us decided to go for a hike along the MST to Lunch Rock and a good ways beyond.  We were rewarded with some awesome above the clouds views!

Liam and Mary

Above the Clouds

 Morning Hike Selfie

 Hanging out at Lunch Rock

The morning views were awesome, but the most exciting part of the hike happened at the very end!  We spotted this guy along the trail: 

Note:  The bear photos were all taken with Full Zoom and cropped (sorry about the lousy quality).  It is still one of the closest I have ever come to a bear in the wild.

We pretty much stopped once we spotted the bear on the trail ahead.  The bear obviously spotted us as well and paused to look us over.  It stared as us for a few seconds, then took about 5 or 6 steps towards us before scampering down the hill towards the Blue Ridge Parkway down below.

Many people are afraid of bears, but I always get enjoyment from the rare occasions that I see one in the wild!  And I was extra excited to be there for Liam's first Bear in the Wild experience!

Later that day, a group of us went into downtown Asheville to stroll around town, check out a few local shops, and to hit a local brewery for a flight or two. 

We ended up at Wicked Weed Brewing Company which was previously my least favorite of the Asheville Breweries I have been to.  However, since it was the only one we found that was open early on a weekday, this is where we ended up.

My brother Bill and Me enjoying a flight at Wicked Weed Brewing

If you are a person like me that does not enjoy crowds, this is a much more relaxed and enjoyable spot at Noon on a Tuesday than it is on a Saturday Afternoon!

 Conner, Liam, Me, Bill, Michelle, and Marielle at Wicked Weed Brewing

After a few appetizers and brews, we met the rest of the gang for a late lunch / early dinner at the Bier Garden Restaurant for their Tuesday Pint Day Specials.  Great Beer Selection and the food was better than expected as well!

Liam and My Dad at the Bier Garden Restaurant

As with most days during the week, I finished up the day with a Sunset Hike to Lunch Rock along the MST

 Sunset from Lunch Rock along the MST

 Sunset from Lunch Rock along the MST

Ran into this guy during the hike back

The Complete set of Photos from Day 4 are posted here:

More to Come Soon!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Thyen Family Vacation to Asheville - Day 1,2, and 3

The Annual Thyen Family "Beach" Vacation
Day 1, 2, and 3
Asheville, NC
Saturday, June 10th through
Monday June 12th, 2017

 Dad's 80th Birthday Dinner

Just about every year for the past 20+ years my family has gotten together and rented a big beach house for a week.  This year we decided to do something different and moved our annual "Beach" Vacation to the Mountains of North Carolina!
On the way we made a stop in Rutherfordton to pay a visit to Amy's parents and check out their new Screened in Porch.

Amy enjoying her parents new Screened in Porch

We had a nice visit with Amy's Parents, an excellent lunch in downtown Rutherfordton, and a visit to the nursing home to see Amy's Grandma.  From Rutherfordton, it was only about a 45 minute drive to Asheville and we arrived at the house right at the 4:00pm Check in time.  My parents would arrive shortly after.  The rest of the crew would not be arriving until the next day. 

"The Wayward Moose"
The house we rented

Morning Twilight view from the front porch

There were lots of rabbits hopping around the property

view from the front porch of our rental house

One of the things I liked about this house is that the Mountains-to-Sea Trail ran right alongside the back of the property.  Therefore, I did not have to drive anywhere to get a hike it. 

Ironically, the same Mountains-to-Sea Trail also runs along side many of the Beach Houses we have rented over the years!

About a 15 minute hike from the house is an outcrop known as Lunch Rock!  I probably hiked to this spot about 15 times over the course of the week.

 View from Lunch Rock along the MST

 Scott and Conner enjoying a Sunset from Lunch Rock

Morning Hike Selfie at Lunch Rock with Marielle, Conner, Me, and Mary

Sunset from Lunch Rock

And of course there was plenty of good food and drink to be had!

 Me by the Jack of the Wood
Our dinner destination for night 2

 Me, Mary, Conner, Katie, and Scott at the Foggy Mountain Brewpub
for some lunch time appetizers and beverages

 Dad's 80th Birthday Dinner at the Bavarian Restaurant and Biergartan

My Nieces and Nephews  (Conner, Liam, Marielle, and Katie)

Lots more to come!

The complete set of photos from Day 1, 2, and 3 are posted here:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017-05-27 Linville Gorge Wilderness Rock Jock Hike

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
Rock Jock Hike with Matt and Kitty
Burke County, NC
  Sunshine Trail, Rock Jock Trail, Zen Point, Zen Falls, Razors Edge, Razors Edge Falls, The Gnomes Crack, Razors Edge Point, Sunshine Point, T-Shirt Point, Mossy Canyon Falls
Saturday, May 27th, 2017

 Linville Gorge Panorama from Sunshine Point

Matt, Kitty, and I got together for a hike along the Rock Jock Trail in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area of North Carolina.

The Linville Gorge is one of the most rugged hiking destinations in the Carolinas!  We were at it for over 7 hours and only hiked about 5 miles!  Of course we did spend a lot of time photographing and soaking up the amazing views!
GPS Track of our Hike

Here are a few photos from our adventure!

view of the Razors Edge from Zen Point

 On the Razors Edge

Kitty and Matt

Razors Edge Point

view from Razors Edge Point

 Lots of Mountain Laurel Blooming

 Kitty on Sunshine Point

Cell Phone Selfie

 Soaring above the gorge

 Matt and Kitty

 Lizard along the trail

Kitty taking a nap near the end of our hike

 Blooms along the trail

The Southern Terminus of the Rock Jock Trail

The complete set of photos is posted here:

Friday, May 26, 2017

2017-05-20 Bear Creek Lake Kayak Camping Weekend - Day 2

Bear Creek Lake Kayak Camping Weekend

A Team Waterfall Adventure

Jackson County, NC

Day 2

Saturday, May 20th, 2017
Bear Creek Lake, Party Island, Flat Creek Falls, Robinson Creek, Verdae Falls, 
Tuckasegee River Gorge, Bonas Defeat

Bob, Darrin, Me, Christy, and Andy

I was awake before any signs or sounds of stirring from Andy or Christy, so I decide to start the day with a little paddle around the island.

 Party Island on Bear Creek Lake

 Morning Fog over Bear Creek Lake from Party Island

I also wanted to hit Flat Creek Falls before the sun rose above the ridge.  The "trailhead" for Flat Creek falls is less than a 5 minute paddle from Party Island, and the hike is about a mile (each way).  There is no official trail, but for the most part if you know where you are going you can pick up some obvious paths most of the way.

Flat Creek Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls anywhere!  Unfortunately I was a few minutes too late and the sun was already lighting up the top section of the waterfall causing less than optimal photo conditions.

Flat Creek Falls

When I returned to the campsite Andy and Christy were finally awake.  Andy was going to paddle back to the boat ramp/parking area to fetch some more beer!   Bob and Darrin were not expected for another couple of hours.  So I decided to go on another paddle/hike to Verdae Falls on Robinson Creek.

The mouth of Robinson Creek is about a 15 minute paddle from Party Island.  From there it is a short creek walk upstream to this small but scenic waterfall.

Verdae Falls on Robinson Creek

 Cascasdes along Robinson Creek

Soon after I returned to party Island, Darrin and Bob had arrived.  Andy returned a short time after.

 Darrin (aka The Salmon) testing out the island's rope swing

After Darrin finished testing out the island's rope swing, the five of us decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Tuckasegee River Gorge (aka Bonas Defeat).  This place has been on my to do list for years, but have never made it there until now!

From Party Island it is about an hour paddle to get to the mouth of the Tuckasegee River
Andy paddling by the first "Welcome Team Waterfall" Sign


Where did the name Bonas Defeat Come from?

Legend has it that an old hunting dog, named Bonas, had been trained by its master to run game off the rock face causing the game to fall of the cliff deep into the gorge creating easy meat for the master.

However, one day a smart buck caused the dog Bonas's death (aka defeat) when he stepped away as the dog chased him causing Bonas to take the plunge that he had caused so many of his hunting prey to take prior to his own demise.

One very important note:  Make sure you check the Duke Energy Dam Release Schedules and do not head into this area if there is a release scheduled of if there is any chance of a flash flood!  As the signs say, the Tuckasegee River Gorge is used as flood control by Duke Energy.

 Bob by another "Welcome Team Waterfall" Sign

We did do our research and found no dam releases scheduled for the day and any potential flash flood causing rains were not expected until much later in the evening.  Plus we were only planning on exploring a very short section of the gorge.

Mountain Laurel

 Andy geared up and ready to go!

We didn't go very far, but what we saw was awesome and we had a great time playing around and exploring this amazing gorge!

 Team Waterfall hanging out at Bonas Defeat

Team Waterfall

Darrin "The Salmon" takes flight

 Andy and Darrin checking out the slot canyon

Bob on the Rocks

Darrin and Bob

 Exiting Bonas Defeat

I was very pleased that I finally got to experience Bonas Defeat, but I would definitely like to make a return visit for a full day exploration of the entire gorge!

Christy and Bob paddling back to Party Island from Bonas Defeat

The paddle back was uneventful and we all built up a thirst for the FABs (Frosty Adult Beverages) that were waiting for us back at Party Island.  A very enjoyable evening was had by everyone!

Darrin, Christy, and Andy hanging out at our Party Island Campsite
Sunset over Bear Creek Lake from Party Island

Darrin photographing the Sunset

Bob, Darrin, Me, Christy, and Andy

Christy and Andy

Sometime after my camera was packed away for the weekend, Spencer and Carlos arrived at Party Island and the Team Waterfall celebration continued long into the night.  Thanks to Bob's BAT (Big Ass Tarp), even the rain did not dampen our spirits.

The next morning I awoke to a steady rain.  The one thing worse than packing up camping gear in the rain, is having to load it onto a Kayak, Paddle for an hour to the boat ramp, load all the wet gear into your vehicle, and then have to load and tie down your Kayak to the Roof Rack. 

I had though about doing a few other short adventures on Sunday Morning, but I decided to pass on those plans due to the rain.  In fact, my camera never exiting my dry bag since I packed it away Saturday night!

Despite the rain, it was a very enjoyable Team Waterfall Weekend!

The Complete set of photos from Day 2 are posted here:

And if you missed Day 1, those are posted here: