Finally got some pics uploaded from our trip to North Carolina last week. This was a trip designed to do several things. First and foremost, my son is starting his neurology residency in a couple weeks at Northwestern University in Chicago and his time is going to be limited for a while, so we decided to go somewhere together for a week. I chose Western North Carolina, because I go there at least a couple times a year, and am familiar so I figured this would maximize our time, not trying to find things.
Our trip started with a 7 1/2 hour drive to Bryson City, NC. My primary goal here was to do a little whitewater, and a lot of mountain biking on the TSALI trails. My son has never done this before, so for him it was a baptism by fire. The TSALI trails are not very technical, but the speed and scenery is spectacular. The climbs are significant, but because of the design are barely noticed. The downhills are wonderful. Our first morning was spent on the "Mouse Branch" trail. 10.5 miles with a beautiful overlook onto Lake Fontana. Our second trail was the "Thompson Loop". This trail has a significant climb near the end, with a payoff of very fast, smooth 1 1/2 mile down hill with several small jumps for some amateur "Air". Our third trail was spent on the "Right Loop". We ran into a problem here, as my son had a bike related accident that is most familiar to the clyde portion of this community (OUCH!) Anyway, we opted to cut this trail short. There is a connector trail that turned this 12 mile trail into about 6 miles, but it was blocked by a huge fallen tree, that was nearly a 100 ft drop and rise on both sides and no way of going around. My son said "We need to go back". At first I thought he was right, but I was reminded that for the last 15 minutes of trail, I have been standing, coasting, and riding the back brake. This meant that to turn back was to go "UPHILL.....NO!) We went over the tree. This was a pretty big deal. There are a few pics of this, and some video that I will try to put on later.
The second half of our trip was spent in the Smokey Mountians and a couple of days in Asheville, NC, my favorite liberal city. Our collective goal here, was to find as many local micro-brews and ingest them for the sake of research. I think we succeeded. My secondary goal was to get my son to fall in love with Asheville. My wife and I are making serious plans to move there in the next few years, and I would like for him to dig this area enough to move there himself.
Here is a link to Photobucket of pictures. There are 120 pics so sit back and relax.
It was hard to put this trip into 8-10 pics. But here is my best foot forward.
First off, there is no denying that we are in the south.
Michael live in Chicago, so this was like Disneyland to him.
The Nantahala River
Back story. This was great little motel that gave a discount if you were mountain biking. How cool.
Though we ate like kings and drank like fish, we brought our own provisions in the event that we got stranded.
Tsali Trail (me)
Tsali (Michael after climbing to the top of Mouse Branch)
This is a sign that a great time was had by all.
Gotta love this area.