Tag Archives: Picnic

Crazy Hot Weather

7 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

The weather here in our area has been crazy hot.  Fortunately, here in the North Carolina mountains, one can escape the worst of the heat by heading to the higher elevations. Our daughter, Rebekah, has been visiting the last week and we have revisited some of our favorite cool spots. Our first escape was to Wayah Bald and the fire tower. It’s elevation is around a mile high and a nice breeze was stirring the air. I didn’t take a picture from the fire tower as we have a lot of those, but now I regret not snapping a fresh one. We did picnic at one of the concrete picnic tables tucked into the woods.


We had planned a 4th of July picnic at another favorite, Standing Indian Campground, but we didn’t get motivated to get moving so I declared it a PJ day.  A good time was had by all. : )

The following day began with rain, but we decided to proceed with our planned visit to Standing Indian. In the mountains, it can be raining on one mountain and dry as a bone on the other. We did run into some scattered showers, but not enough to ruin our day. At 3,880 feet, Standing Indian doesn’t have the elevation of Wayah Bald, but the rain had left a cool breeze so we were quite comfortable. In fact, we had to don our lightweight jackets for a time. At Wayah, we took sandwiches but since we knew Standing Indian had a spacious pavilion, we decided to grill hot dogs. We have a battered Volcano Grill and love it. It folds up nicely and runs on your choice of three types of fuel.

On Wednesday we made a new discovery, Mud Creek Falls,  an easily accessible waterfall in Sky Valley, Georgia. We learned of it from friends but had not yet made the trip to see it. Since Rebekah was up here visiting and writing, it seemed like a good time to explore. We made a couple of wrong turns but once we found it, we realized it was very easy to get to. The falls are perfect for folks who can’t walk far,as you can view them from your car. There are also three picnic tables where you can enjoy a meal to the music of the water. Since we had breakfast out, we didn’t pack a lunch.


On the way home, we stopped by Georgia’s Black Rock Mountain State Park. At a previous visit the ranger had told us to return at the end of June for a spectacular Rhododendron display. We must have been too late, but it was still fun to drive through the park and stop off at some overlooks.

One thing we saw at a couple of the parks was the awesome kindness of leaving a walking stick that was picked up along the way, next to a trail marker or collection box for someone else to use.


The temps have cooled down and it’s not so crazy hot. Rebekah is working on her seventh novel while she is visiting. She has decided that five hours of “exploring” and five hours of writing is the perfect combination. I have read the first half of her new novel, which is a sequel to Jessie and I can’t wait for her to finish it.

While we were at Mud Creek Falls, my husband pointed out an incredible tree, whose roots were laced into a large boulder. Immediately these words flowed into my heart, what are you rooted into, are you rooted into me, the solid rock?  It looks like the dirt has been washed away from the roots but the tree is firmly planted on the solid rock.


Summer Exploring

26 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

This summer it has been an absolute joy to spend time with our grandchildren, taking them to many of the places we explored with our own kids.  Yesterday, though we went on a new adventure, and took the grandchildren to Black Rock Mountain State Park in Georgia. We have passed the entrance hundreds of times on our way to Florida and on our way to Wal-Mart. Years ago we tried to visit the park but the road was too steep for our van and we didn’t make it to the top. The park is less than twenty miles from our mountain home and we have missed out on it for years. After that failed first attempt we overlooked it because it is practically in town and the signs were so familiar we just tuned it out.

Our first stop in the park was the visitor information center to get a park pass. Outside the building is an overlook and like all mountain overlooks, the scene was beautiful, but what made it really cool for the kids was they could see Wal-Mart.

We had a great time exploring the park, grilling hot dogs and we even saw a baby bear, the first bear sighting for our grandchildren.  After leaving the park we went to Wal-Mart. Our grandson was fascinated to be able to locate the park while standing in the parking lot. You see, for years he had seen that rough brown spot on the side of the mountain but thought it was just construction. How many opportunities and relationships do we overlook because the first time we tried was too hard or we just weren’t seeing what was there all the time?

Mis-adventures Are Fun Too

19 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

We have been enjoying the summer exploring with the grandchildren. Two weeks ago we visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We had planned some short walks and a picnic at Collins Creek picnic area. The weather decided to change our plans but we were able to grill our hotdogs under a wonderful pavilion at Collins Creek.

This week we were on a waterfall hunt in Clayton, Georgia. Due to bad directions and an over-full ford, we didn’t find the waterfalls but we did discover a great picnic area, Warwoman Dell.  Warwoman has two amazing picnic pavilions, one with a large fireplace the other with a central fireplace with four grilling stations.  We ended our day with the grandchildren wading in the Chattooga River located on the South Carolina-Georgia border.

Uh-oh should have driven the truck.

Love the fireplace. Looks like a great place for a Fall picnic

Wading on the Chatooga

Neither of our days went as we planned but we had a great time. Sometimes those rainy day picnics and mis-adventures create memories that are remembered far longer than perfect days.

How about you, do you let the weather or bad directions keep you from having a good time?

%d bloggers like this: