So I finally got a chance to go back to Pisgah...... Have I ever mentioned that Pisgah National Forest is my favorite place in the world? No? Well it is. Winter, Spring Summer, or Fall, I love Pisgah. This past Saturday found us with one mission in mind; floating down the Davidson River. Let me tell you what, you can keep the beach, and you can have the poolside sauntering of summer for all I care. Just give me an inner tube and the Davidson river! A bright, sunny day in the mid 80's and a gently rolling mountain river with a temp in the mid to lower 60's? That's the stuff that real vacations are made of!!
I honestly think I could spend the rest of my life in the area surrounding Pisgah and never have the desire to wander elsewhere. It is absolutely my most favorite place on earth.
After floating down the river ($7.00 per day inner tube rental) for a few hours, I got out and hiked back to where we had left the car, and drove it down stream to where the rest of my family was. We got out, dried off a bit and had a really nice picnic lunch stream side. There were a lot of people there, but the vast majority of them were respectable. The one or two instances where people were being.... well, people, I illustrated the finer points of "Leave No Trace" to my kids. It's something were going to start working on in Scouts this year, and it was a fine time to jump start Boudreaux and Thibadeaux in the finer aspects of taking care of the wilderness.
No finer a point to this topic could be made than when we went on our hike to Bridal Veil Falls. It's a fairly easy trail, with a few steep inclines, but it was not anything too difficult for kids to navigate. But it has been heavily traveled, and in the middle of it were a couple of boggy areas you had to walk around because of heavy foot traffic. It was easily avoided, and to be honest, you were a whole lot better off (and drier) going around it, but people seemed to have -pardon the pun- muddled through it.
I suppose that's to be expected on some of the easier, shorter paths. But there were signs of ignorance in the midst of heavy traffic. We came across some really beautiful mushrooms underneath a fallen tree, that I was lucky enough to photograph, because on our return trip, someone had taken the time to destroy them. A shame that ignorance and disregard for nature exists, but again, I used it as a lesson for my boys. I explained to them, that while we might not use something, there are all sorts of animals that prosper and thrive because of things like these little mushrooms, and if we destroy them, we make other life forms suffer. I started to get very Franciscan about things, which is O.K. because St. Francis was probably one of the first environmentalists, but I was still really disappointed to see those little yellow mushrooms torn from the ground. I'll have top ask my sources at the college to identify what kind of mushroom it is. It seems as if it might be visicid (slippery-wet), but I didn't touch it for various and sundry reasons.
I suppose that the harder the trail, the less ignorance we'll see, but none of us were really set for an extended hike ( I was the only one not wearing sandals, and even then my shoes were not made for hiking), so this one was going to have to suffice.
We hiked the entire trail, ending up at a very pretty waterfall, but again, there were traces of man's encroachment were everywhere. I suppose that included us as well, but we didn't disturb the rocks, or draw our names in the mud, or go off trail, so our impact was minimal. One thing I did see that was not only hazardous to the flora and fauna, but also incredibly stupid and foolhardy, was a young man and his girlfriend strip down to their bathing suits and bare feet, and climb up the left hand side of these falls (Left as you look at the picture) all the way to the top. It might not seem like such a big thing, but if you notice in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, there is a child. He was around 5 feet tall, so that gives you a little scale when it comes to how high they climbed. It even said at the trail head that there was a risk of certain death if you fell (The water was only about 8 inches deep at the base) from that height, and that it was forbidden to do so, but they climbed it anyway.
It bugs me to be there and see so many people doing so many stupid and selfish things, especially in a place I love so much, but if a lesson is learned, I suppose it's a good thing, right?