No trip to Western North Carolina is complete with an excursion to Pisgah National Forest!
Between the Cradle of Forestry, Sliding Rock, Looking Glass Falls and tubing down the river, there are so many things to do that you can really spend an entire day in Pisgah Forest without ever hearing the kids whine, "We're bored!"
Luckily, I had to drive through US 276 from Cherokee to Brevard, in order to surprise my grandparents with a visit while we were in town. By the way, US 276? Don't attempt the drive on a full stomach, or if you're prone to motion sickness.
It's an insane ride...I had completely forgotten what the road was like until I recognized the curve where I almost fell off the back of my husband's motorcycle a few years ago.
If your curve-loving motorcyclist husband dubs a road one of his favorites, that's not usually a good sign.
I made the most of the ride and had a little fun with it, but the kids in the backseat didn't enjoy it quite as much as I did...I may have heard once or twice, "stop driving like a crazy woman!' And "stop trying to kill us!"
I was only doing 40 miles per hour.
We stopped for ice cream (which will have its own blog post because the ice cream is that good!) and then visited with my Mamaw for a while. On our way back through Pisgah National Forest to Cherokee, we stopped at Looking Glass Falls and had a little fun.
After taking the obligatory In Front of The WaterFall Picture, I let the kids get in for a swim.
We came prepared...we were all wearing our bathing suits under our clothes!
We weren't the only ones with the idea to go for a swim, despite the freezing cold water - Looking Glass Falls was PACKED!
And you know what? I've been coming to Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest ever since I can remember and it is always packed, especially during the summers. Local camps bring bus loads of students, schools take field trips to the local Cradle of Forestry and make a pit stop for a quick swim - and vacationers seek it out for it's beautiful photo opportunities.
My niece seriously has NO FEAR. She threw off her clothes and jumped right in to get her body acclimated to the frigid water. My daughter wasn't feeling as adventurous and only waded in, rolling up her jean shorts. I actually waded in with my bikini as well, but no one wants to see photos of that!
And then my niece did something that I am still shocked about...she went completely under the water!
She swam around for a bit while I stared - seriously, I have a completely new found respect for this kid. I always thought my daughter was brave for getting into the water and riding down Sliding Rock (a little farther up the mountain), but she's never actually swam around like she was at home in the pool!
Looking Glass Falls holds a special place in my heart and it felt wonderful to take my daughter and niece there together. As a child, the only place my family ever went on vacation was to North Carolina to visit my grandparents, and Looking Glass Falls was always our favorite thing to do while on vacation. I spent summers playing in the waterfall with my cousins, and now my daughter has done the same.
It means so much to me that I can give my daughter the same memories of visiting Looking Glass Falls year after year with different cousins.
Tomorrow we are going tubing down the Ocanaluftee River in Cherokee, so check back for my post on that later this week!