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Transylvania County - Land of Waterfalls...and the Hunger Games

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Transylvania County - Land of Waterfalls...and the Hunger Games


I have to admit, I'm a little embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about the geography of the Southeast. Actually, make that most places outside of the Northeast and West Coast. It's terrible. I mean, I knew that there were beautiful places to explore in North Carolina but I guess I wasn't expecting the incredible beauty. And the mountains! I knew that Asheville was near the Appalachian Mountains but the Great Smoky Mountains too? No clue.

We poked around online to find some good hikes for Sunday and came across a few options. You know how sometimes you find what sounds like a great hike online, the description gushing about waterfalls and incredible vistas, but only to find a trickle of water when you actually get there? Well, not this time.

Yes, my hot pink Reebok RealFlex Transitions & Oakleys made the trip with me. Yes, I am obsessed with both of them.

We set off to do a loop of three waterfalls in DuPont State Forest - Triple Falls, High Falls and Hooker Falls. We should have known that we were in for a treat when we passed a sign welcoming us to Transylvania County and the land of waterfalls (over 200 waterfalls in the county!). It was a pretty easy hike but the falls were spectacular, cascading down 120-150 feet. Along the side of the falls, there were large, flat slabs of rocks - perfect for resting, picnicking or dipping your toes in the water. 

What struck me most about our hike was the number of families that were out together - hiking, walking dogs and swimming in the numerous swimming holes that dotted the area. I loved that and it made me realize that our family doesn't get out of NYC and explore the outdoors nearly as much as we should.





Apparently, this area is also a popular movie location. Triple Falls was featured in the movie Last of the Mohicans. But, most recently, three major scenes from the Hunger Games were shot in DuPont State Recreational Forest!

Remember the scene in which Katniss is tracking Peeta when he is injured and she finds him hidden along the river bank camouflaged? Peeta was hidden in the rock surface below Triple Falls. Sadly, the cave where they take shelter doesn't actually exists. Believe me, I was tempted to look for it. We didn't get to see the site of the two other scenes but Bridal Veil Falls is the location where Katniss jumps in a pool of water after being burned and scenes with active burning and fireballs were also filmed nearby. They cleared the area of underbrush and installed "trees" made of steel pipes and pumped with gas. 



After our hike and a quick lunch, we decided to drive back along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we pulled up onto the Parkway, I think that our jaws dropped. The views were ah-mazing. It looked fake. Kind of like the set of a play where you have one layer of landscape behind another except that these were real blue-grey mountains. As we pulled up to the first vista point, we saw a sign telling us the name of the mountain in the distance. Oh, Cold Mountain. You know, the Mountain that was made famous by the novel by Charles Frazier and later the 2003 movie with Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Renee Zellweger. Who knew that our little outing would turn into an impromptu movie set tour?

I'm really glad that we had the chance to explore the area a bit. We both left with a greater appreciation and curiosity about the area. As we left, we were already planning our next adventure to the Smokey Mountains. I also left wanting to expose my city kids to the outdoors more - more than just the big old park or the little old park but the woods and big trees and rocks and waterfalls and bugs. OK, maybe not the bugs.

Have you explored this area? Do you take your kids hiking? Are you as geographically challenged as I am? Did you watch the Hunger Games??



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39 Comments:

At June 28, 2012 at 1:31 AM , Blogger OatmealBowl said...

This looks very cool! And your movie + hiking knowledge is a rare gift. ;) haha. i love that pic of you two standing by the fence. its gorgeous. Glad you had a great time. I am simply jealous. ;)

 
At June 28, 2012 at 2:47 AM , Anonymous Charlotte (@Char__Latte) said...

Beautiful!!! looks like you had a great time! I love the smoky mountains.

 
At June 28, 2012 at 5:05 AM , Blogger Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb said...

Sadly I am geographically challenged too. Gotta work on that!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 5:11 AM , Anonymous MizFit said...

I need to hike more more more....as soon as it cools here ;)

 
At June 28, 2012 at 6:04 AM , Anonymous Jess said...

Wow looks so beautiful! Definitely great for kids to get outdoors and into nature!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 6:15 AM , Blogger Jennifer Goodale said...

Gorgeous photos! We are in Eastern NC and I miss views like this! Sure we have the beach, but there's really no replacing mountain beauty. Looks like a great hike!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 6:48 AM , Blogger LetsTalkAndWalk said...

beautiful photos! love the pink shoes!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 7:45 AM , OpenID Missy said...

I had no idea this was where part of the Hunger Games was filmed! I always pictured the book in West Virginia though!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM , Blogger Heather @ Just a Colorado Gal said...

So glad you were able to get out and enjoy the woods--so pretty!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM , Anonymous Michele @nycrunningmama said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that other than NY (and by NY, I mean mostly NYC), parts of NJ, TX, and AZ, I know very little about the rest of the country. My geography is terrible.

I wanted to see Hunger Games SO BADLY but we kept putting off going to the theater and before I realized it, it was no longer being shown =( I had no idea that there were even places like this in NC - you will be on my mind now during those scenes!!

Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures - glad you had a wonderful, relaxing weekend!! =)

 
At June 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM , Blogger Harold L. Shaw said...

Very cool, I haven't been in the area since the early 80's it is beautiful country that you just hiked/drove through :-) Very jealous.

 
At June 28, 2012 at 3:01 PM , Anonymous ilene said...

I would love to get out for a hike with my kids. We do so many things but the SAME things. Nature rocks. It's part of why I love running. Once again you have planted the seed for a great idea!

 
At June 28, 2012 at 3:44 PM , Blogger misszippy said...

This sounds like such a great locale! It would be so much fun to go there after having just watched the Hunger Games. My family is always hiking on vacation. it's such a great family activity and fun way to explore new territory.

 
At June 28, 2012 at 5:09 PM , Blogger Motivated Mommy of two said...

Wow the are looks gorgeous thanks for sharing

 
At June 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM , OpenID runfundone said...

I noticed your pink shoes before you mentioned them! They look great!

 
At June 29, 2012 at 3:33 AM , Blogger Motivated Mommy of two said...

Wow that place looks beatiful great information about the Hunger Games. I remember asking my husband where they had filmed some of those scenes now I know.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 7:04 AM , Blogger Cotter Crunch said...

I'll go with you!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Marcy said...

Beautiful photos! I love hiking and have done a lot in the Northeast, but I haven't hiked down there. Visiting from the Sharefest.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

Welcome to NC! I found you through SITS sharefest today. This is my first time participating, and I'm so glad I did. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. I will enjoy reading your posts.

Leigh

 
At June 30, 2012 at 10:41 AM , Blogger Alison@Mama Wants This said...

Sigh, gorgeous views, truly.

We live in the city and we hardly ever get out to nature, we need to do it more!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 10:46 AM , Anonymous Toddler Summer said...

Wow! Beautiful photos...makes me want to go and explore the Southeast too!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:05 PM , Blogger Christine said...

haha! Thanks..I think? ;-)
It was super fun and made me realize that I really haven't been out hiking in a long time. Need to do it more.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:06 PM , Blogger Christine said...

We did! Thanks Charlotte! I have to go back and explore the Smokies some more.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:06 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Glad to know that I'm not the only one!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:07 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Wait! I want to go with you both!! :-)

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:11 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Seeing all those families out hiking and swimming reminded me of that. Not that we don't get our kids out but our kids are out and about in a urban environment and not the woods. It's different for sure.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:16 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Jennifer! It was really beautiful. Not that I wasn't expecting it to be beautiful in NC but it was beyond anything that I expected really. Can't wait to make a return trip.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:17 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thank you!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:19 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Me too! I totally was picturing West Virginia. We had no idea until we actually got to the park and were looking at the maps before we started hiking. There was this one piece of paper pinned up next the map talking about the locales where the Hunger Games was filmed. Lucky coincidence.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Heather!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:23 PM , Blogger Christine said...

haha! So glad that I'm not the only one who is geographically challenged. The sad thing is that my boys probably know geography better than me and they are 3 and 5!! I didn't really know that NC had places like this too. Not sure what I was expecting but it was just amazingly beautiful.

I hope you get to see the Hunger Games soon!!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:23 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Harold. It was amazingly beautiful country. I felt very grateful for being there.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:24 PM , Blogger Christine said...

haha! Thanks! I love those shoes. Seriously, it's bad.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:25 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Glad that I could plant the seed! I feel the same way - that we are a bit stuck in a routine with our kids and need to do some new things. I hoping to take them out hiking this summer (assuming it's not going to be boiling hot all summer). I hope you do too!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Christine said...

We had no idea that they filmed some scene from the Hunger Games there. It was a nice surprise. I would love to go hiking more with our kids. Hopefully we'll be able to do more now since our youngest is just about 3 so he's getting a bit older and can handling walking a lot more.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Marcy! This was really my first time hiking outside of the Northeast and the West. Loved it. Such a great way to explore a different part of the country.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:28 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Leigh! So glad that we connected through the SITS sharefest!

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:28 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks Alison. It seriously looked fake.

 
At June 30, 2012 at 9:29 PM , Blogger Christine said...

Thanks! I really want to go and explore more of the region now!! Just need to find the time :-)

 

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