Down time is essential for refueling for the week ahead for any Professional. Besides the beach, the mountains are the next best thing to get FRESH air, killer views and a workout at the same time. When this Style blogger’s beau is a die hard mountain man, a head to the hills and roughing it was bound to happen- even if just for a night.
My recommends for hiking & camping essentials, trail and overlook recommends and the best darn pumpkin soup at this must stop restaurant below.
Pisgah National Forest has endless choices of trails, cascading waterfalls and breathtaking overlooks. The drive alone along the Blue Ridge Parkway is remarkable and a relatively short drive from the southern Carolinas. My first camping experience was the weekend the hurricane hit down in Florida, so the winds were to say the least a little gusty-upwards of 50 mph. A light drizzle came down setting up our tent, temps dipped down pretty cool and my temperature fluctuated back and forth. With all that said, I prefer a cooler temp to hike so it was all good with me. It was also nice to not have cell reception in certain spots, so it truly required me to get off the grid.
In the end, a fire was not made due to wet wood and weather challenges, but a smoky fire pit and mountain man always make for some good pics and ambiance. North Carolina offers some impeccable off-road camping sites so after a little research, pull over and get that camp site pitched. This site was off the Blue Ridge Parkway, along with some nature trails and waterfalls. With over 50,000 acres in the National Forest, you are sure to find a spot just right for you.
If able, hike the nature trail at Richland Balsam. Of all the trails I have been to, this one is at the top of my list. It reminded me of hiking through a Christmas forest, the scents of Balsam firs all around you. It is roughly a 1.4 mile loop around, with a nice view on the way back where you can sit on a bench and look out for a view. It is at the top of the mountain, coming at an Elevation at 6410 and the best part…we only saw one couple on the way in. The rest of the trail was quiet as a mouse [except for the spooky acorns that fell and squeaky moving trees, this style blogger gets spooked easily].
Waterfalls are a plenty in Pisgah-I particularly liked the trail to Skinny Dip Falls. This trail can be found right across from the Looking Glass Overlook off the Parkway. The trek there and back was relatively mild, coming in around 1 mile total and worth making a stop for. I question who would be skinny dipping with those cool temps, but I am sure a few kiddos in the summer experience ignorant bliss when splashing around in the six foot deep iceberg waters.
After camping and hiking, treat yourself to one of my new favorite restaurants, The Pisgah Inn restaurant. I licked the bowl clean as fine diners do on the best pumpkin soup I have had and next time I am saving room for their Blackberry cobbler [or better yet I will start with that decadence first as my appetizer].
Be sure to head there before the season closes, which is coming up shortly. In addition, beat the crowds by going slightly later-around 7:30. Otherwise, you will be waiting with all of the other early birds coming over from the Inn. The views are incredible, the setting is as romantic as it gets.
When out in mother nature, a few essentials are definitely necessary. I hit my local REI to get a few pieces to add to my trip so I would not appear entirely a novice [epic fail overall since my hiking skills are non existent no matter what gear I am sporting].
To get you started on your adventure outdoors, below are a few handy items I found were useful. The tent was super light and quick to assemble[ my man’s tent who uses this on all his wild adventures] ;the fit and style of these hiking pants can’t be beat [make sure to order 2 sizes up as all the reviews suggested how small they ran and were correct]; these trail shoes are ideal for day hikes without the heaviness of a true hiking boot; a moisture wick fitted shirt in a cool toned blue was found in this perfect t and saving the best for last-good undies are a must! Travel wear by ExOfficio has never done me wrong, even in the past on a long tour in Europe: