Last Friday I packed my bags and headed for the most remote place I could find in the South. I had booked a week-long stay in Balsam Grove, NC – which is in Transylvania County. The Pisgah National Forest, the town of Brevard, and Dupont National Forest (as well as a good chunk of the Blueridge Parkway) are some notable features in this area. I had pretty much needed a long break for what was familiar to me and from work (which is fun but can be highly stressful on a bad day).
So when I say “remote” I mean no cell service, no internet, LOTS of trees and steep terrain. Very few people lived in this small mountain farming community and businesses tended to close early. I kissed convenience goodbye and spent a lot of time at a campfire or exploring with my sweet faithful doggie by my side.
The drive was pretty cool. Atlanta was horrifying but that’s apparently always the case. I feared for my life on I-85 and after surviving that stretch and getting turned around in the middle of the city I vowed I was NOT going home via the same route. The only thing I have to say about mountain roads in NC is WATCH OUT. People drive like they are in the Daytona 500. I was hearing the soundtrack from Days of Thunder playing intensely in my head as drivers or all vehicles – cars, large trucks, beat up trucks, crotch-rockets- zoomed around the endless tight curves up and down the mountain. I was also told that they have at least one death a year simply for that reason. Yikes.
What I thought was just going to be me and the dog and nobody else turned out to be not quite so. I think it could have been – if I wanted to truly escape human interaction, but alas I am too social to keep that persona up. After a scenic and, at times, terrifying drive, we arrived at our destination. My cabin was not really a cabin – more of a tiny red shack with minimal furnishings (a bunk bed/couch, small fridge, a microwave, heater, and coffee maker). The bathroom was a port-a-potty out back – the showers were in a bath-house a couple of football fields away. I was perfectly happy with my minimalistic choice for a stay.
Immediately upon arrival I was greeted by the couple staying in the cabin next door. They had a couple of dogs and seemed very inviting. I waved back and set my stuff inside the bare cabin. I went back out and spoke to them. This was the beginning of a wonderful human experience.
Lauren and Erin are really cool ladies. They are girlfriends, they are vegan, and they have a business of their own making various types of bags (Check them out here – Cabin Girl Designs). We spent a good deal of time for the first two days (mornings and evenings) at their campfire learning about each other and talking about life. They are total cool hippies with down-to-earth but very free-spirited views on life and I appreciate every moment I spent getting to know them. They were only there for a couple of days and left on Sunday morning. I definitely gained two new friends and i look forward to seeing them again the next time I travel to NC. I wasn’t leaving until the next Friday and had already resolved myself to meet my other neighbors as they came and went throughout the week.
The night before these two left, another lady had taken up the cabin on the other side of mine. We almost immediately invited her to hang out at our campfire since everyone was being social. A few hours later she did join us. Her name is Zan and she was really kind of quiet at first. She and her dog are very sweet and the following morning I had the opportunity to converse with her more. I’ll tell more about that in the next post. It was a very full week.
For now I’ll leave you with pictures from my first couple of days of exploring.