North Carolina – I wish I had taken more pictures.

North Carolina is beautiful. The Outerbanks Region has long been one of my favorite places in the U.S., but that was only because I hadn’t been to the western side of the state. Blue Ridge Parkway, numerous waterfalls, wonderful Shakespeare, delicious food, white water rafting – you can find it all.

Rainbow Falls. This is why people who swim to close to the falls and have the misfortune of falling over the side don’t live. (Thanks for explaining, Rick!) When I first found out that we were going to Rainbow Falls I was imagining a pretty little waterfall and couldn’t understand why most people (i.e. all, with a few exceptions) don’t make it. When we finally got near the end of the hike this is what we saw. Beautiful, ain’t it?

Black Balsam – Art Loeb Trail. For whatever reason, I love that the mountain to the right has a path worn across the top from numerous hikers. Usually the casualty of nature due to humans bothers me a lot, but I like thinking that thousands of other people have walked here and enjoyed the view too.

This was relaxing. I forget what the name of this trail was, except that it was  on the way to Big Falls and the waterfall that we couldn’t find. I think the hike with this set of waterfalls was my favorite – much less trampled and a little more wild. The guidebook called the trail a 10. I won’t lie – I was scared. But it turned out not to be too bad. Rainbow Falls hike was probably my least favorite; doesn’t help that it was the last hike of the day and we covered around 10 miles on foot.

This was in the Black Balsam area again. Such a great view! I am so out of shape.
The Nantahala River. Except for those twenty or thirty seconds where I really felt that sense of impending doom, this was a ton of fun! OK. Even those twenty or thirty seconds were fun. I haven’t felt that kind of adrenaline in a long, long time. Definite must do again.
Overall trip rating: A+.

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