Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Camping in the Mountains

After spending time at the beach and the "Little Bavaria" of Michigan we decided to head to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Lake James State Park was one of the best parks we've been to for camping. All the sites require walking 150-300 yards (no loud radios), everything was very well maintained (nice tent pads, picnic tables, nice bathrooms, nearby trash receptacles and water) and afford fantastic views of the lake and nearby hills.

Before we left, we planned out five dinners that all require only one pot. The hardest part of camp cooking is heat control; this is why most internet recipes stick to stews or something similar. For cooking we either use a small gas-powered stove or a fire. The stove doesn't do low heat very well, so then we use a wood fire. Our meals included Broccoli cheese casserole w/ chorizo, sweet and sour stir-fry w/ chicken and peaches, lentils with spinach and veggies, and rice and beans with seasoned chicken.

After we were done camping we ventured the 40 miles to Asheville, NC. The region surrounding Asheville is a hotbead of crafts from painting, furniture making, to glass blowing and ceramics. There are numerous galleries and there was also the Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival while we were there. The streets were packed with people checking out booths selling local crafts and various music venues. There was also some general silliness with bike-jousting and a man trying to set the Guiness Record for riding the tallest bicycle. 

Asheville is full of interesting restaurants and quirky clothing shops. We came home with a few new articles of clothing and many instances of delectably full stomachs.

The last day we were in the area I went on a long bike ride south of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The segment just south of Asheville rises in elevation from 2,100 feet to 5,000 feet and includes a dozen tunnels, all in the space of 15 miles. Grinding up the hills that seemed to go on forever was taxing both physically and mentally. The views near the top were worth it, and descending at speeds nearing 40 mph was exilerating.

Jefe's a little tired...
Back in Asheville, we found a nice spot for dinner before heading back to Raleigh in order to figure out where our next adventure will lead.

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