Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

To see additional photos that I have posted from the arboretum, do an internet search by “ranger annette asheville nc north carolina arboretum”. Also, here is a link to the arboretum website.

Today was our monthly visit to the arboretum after becoming members in August. We normally either park in the gravel parking area on the left as you come in through the gate, or we park at the gardens where most everyone parks. Today we decided to turn right, right before the gardens and head to the Production Greenhouse parking area. It’s not a huge parking area, so probably during the summer this parking area may fill up pretty fast. Seems that alot of people that come to the arboretum to ride their bikes, park here.

After parking, we took off on Wolf Branch Road. As you are driving up to the Production Greenhouse parking area, right before you do the u-turn into the parking area, you will see the Wolf Branch Road trailhead on your right. So, when you take off on foot, you have to backtrack on the main road a very short distance. It’s only a 3/10 of a mile from the trailhead to Bent Creek Road. This is a short connector trail. But, before we even made it to Bent Creek Road, we came upon Carolina Mountain Trail. I always like to take a right down the steps and take that little trail out to Bent Creek Road. Taking this little trail, you are able to walk along the creek. There are a couple of nice cascades on this trail.

We eventually came to Bent Creek Road. Turning right would take you off of arboretum property and take you into Bent Creek Experimental Forest and Lake Powhatan. Instead we turned left and walked to the other end of Bent Creek Road. Bent Creek Road is an easy 2.6 mile round trip walk. It’s flat and gravel surfaced. You’re usually sharing this with walkers / hikers, runners, people walking their pets, and bicyclists. You’ll pass a couple of roads that take you back up to the gardens. There are a couple of trails that go off to the right that can eventually take you off of arbortetum property and into Pisgah National Forest. Also, as you are walking along Bent Creek Road, you are going to have several spots where you will see a sign for
Bent Creek Trail. We usually take these little side trails because they again take you along the creek.

After walking Bent Creek Road and Wolf Branch Road (with our little detour on Carolina Mountain Trail), we walked a total of 3.2 miles by the time we returned to the car. We then drove over to the gardens. We walked around and saw where they had all of the winter lights displayed. We are always home by dark, so we were only able to see the “lights” during the day. After walking around the gardens, we went to the Baker Exhibit Center. Of course by this time, there isn’t anything blooming out in the gardens. We thought we’d check out what was blooming in the little greenhouse off of the exhibit center. They had a few different flowers in there, but what was very cool was the different colored poinsettia’s.

Here are a few photos from today. Jason, Kim, and the twins also had some photos taken at Steele Creek Park this past week, so included a few of those photos.

Address for GPS: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC


Wolf Branch Road trailhead near the Production Greenhouse


This is where Carolina Mountain Trail crosses Wolf Branch Road


Instead of keeping straight on Wolf Branch Road, we turned right and went down the steps and took Carolina Mountain Trail to Bent Creek Road


One of the rapids on Carolina Mountain Trail


We are now on Bent Creek Road. We’re heading left. That trail in the background is Bent Creek Trail. We’ll be taking that and walking along the creek.


Photographing the creek under one of the stone bridges


This is the trail that takes off to the right from Bent Creek Road. This is the trail into the National Native Azalea Repository. Can’t wait until the end of April when the azaleas are blooming.


Heading back up Wolf Branch Road to the car


The Christmas “lights” in front of the education center. Usually that round area that you see those lights in, is filled with water during the warmer months.


A tree with Christmas lights at the bonsai gardens


Some tree color in the bonsai garden


And a little more color


Steve by the big Christmas tree. Bet those lights are beautiful at night.


One of the blooms in the greenhouse by the exhibit center


The rest of these are different colored poinsettia’s that they had in the greenhouse





Jason, Kim, and the twins at Steele Creek Park


Eli is looking like “I’m going to have 2 pumpkins here in a minute”


Sawyer is always very happy when he is outside


Eli likes his leaf



Boone, NC – Boone Greenway Trail

Today we had to head over to Boone, NC to pick up something that we had ordered from the health food store. Decided to just get out and do an easy stroll. We ended up taking our stroll on the greenway trail. We didn’t complete the entire trail today. Just a portion of it.

We normally park near the wastewater treatment plant, but today parked at the gravel parking area at Clawson Burnley Park. It’s only 2/10 of a mile to the greenway trail from this park. You come out onto the greenway trail near the covered bridge. This is a good place to start, especially if you want to have a little picnic prior to your walk. There are picnic shelters and individual picnic tables. There is also a wetlands area with a gravel walking track around it. We took off from the parking area and walked along the right hand side of the wetlands area. Also spent a little time by the river. When we came to the far end of the wetlands, we walked through the grass and hit the paved greenway trail. We turned right and headed towards the covered bridge. We then turned right after crossing the bridge. It’s a nice walk in that direction. Most of your time is spent in a nice pine forest. It’s only 3/10 of a mile up through there and we turned around at the end which is at Hunting Hills Lane. We then backtracked and passed the covered bridge and walked 7/10 of a mile beside of New River.  There has been alot of work done such as riverbank repair and wooden fencing to keep folks off of  the river banks. During this part of the walk, you also have what seems to be some sports field on your right. After we looped around the sports field, we took the shortcut on the lower end of the sports field that brings you back out near the covered bridge. We then headed back over to Clawson Burnley Park, walked along the other side of the wetlands, and then headed back to the car. After all was said and done, we walked almost 2 1/2 miles.

Here is a map of the entire greenway trail.

Here are a few photos from today. Along with the photos from our walk, posted one of Orka. Also, the twins were up this past week, so included a couple of them.

Address for GPS: Use address of 274 Hunting Hills Ln, Boone, NC (which is the National Guard Armory). If you turned off of State Farm Road, the gravel parking area will be on your left after passing the armory. This parking area is at Clawson Burnley Park.


Photo of the picnic shelters from the parking area


We took the right fork. That took us on the right hand side of the wetlands. New River was then to our right.


More picnic tables (covered) along the wetlands trail


And then here’s the river that you can picnic by


When you get to the back end of the wetlands trail and hit the paved trail, you are right at the greenway trail


The covered bridge


We turned right after crossing the covered bridge and walked through a nice pine forest


Heading back towards the covered bridge after walking through the pine forest


We have now passed the covered bridge. This section of the trail has been newly paved, and fencing has been built.


And then here’s the river on this end. You have to blow this picture up to see. But, in the background is a trail that we’re going to try next time we’re over that way. It’s an entrance to the Kennedy trails.


Taking the shortcut back over to the covered bridge


We’re now heading back into Clawson Burnley Park. We’re heading to the left to complete the gravel walkway around the wetland area.


The wetlands with the picnic shelter and gazebo in the background


Now we’re back home with Orka playing with crunchy dead leaves

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Eli has to be in the mood to let Orka around him. He has no idea Orka is hanging out behind him.

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Sawyer loves Orka. He’s trying to feed Orka whatever he has mixed up in his bowl.

Blowing Rock, NC – Moses Cone Memorial Park (Bass Lake)

This was not our destination today. We drove all the way to Nebo, NC to do a hike at Lake James State Park today. The weather was supposed to be rotten the first part of the day, but was supposed to clear up that afternoon. The clear-up didn’t happen. So, we headed back to the Blowing Rock / Boone area. We weren’t sure what we were going to do.

On our way up the mountain into Blowing Rock on Hwy 321, right before the 4-lane ends, there is an overlook on the left hand side of the road. Seemed pretty popular today so we stopped. The views here are pretty nice. It’s grown up a little so the views aren’t spectacular. Tooks some photos here and those are the first 2 photos that you see below.

We jumped back in the car and headed on to Blowing Rock. It was getting kind of late in the day from where we had taken that long drive to Lake James State Park, so we decided to go take a walk around Bass Lake. This was our 3rd visit to Bass Lake since I started posting our walks. To see other photos of the Bass Lake walk, search the internet by “ranger annette bass lake”.

This is an easy 8/10 of a mile walk around the lake. But, if you park where we normally park, at the parking area out on Hwy 221, that probably adds on a total of 4/10 of a mile, for a total of 1.2 miles. This trail is crushed gravel so is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.

The loop around the lake is for foot traffic only. Once you take the trail from where we park and hit the official lake loop, you are almost where you cross the dam. At this point you have a good view of Moses Cone Manor that houses the Parkway Craft Center. We then crossed the dam and took the first right. But, that was only to check out the waterfall on the right hand side of the bridge. After capturing a few photos here, we continued on around the lake. You eventually pass Heart Pond. No one really knows why Moses Cone installed the two sided pond shaped like a heart. Right past Heart Pond, you can walk a little trail over to a fence and check out the cows if they are hanging out. We eventually continued on and came across a few ducks. The waterfowl weren’t out today like they normally are. But, for these few ducks, it was apparently feeding time as you will see in one of my photos. We then kept on and passed the parking area / restrooms, and eventually arrived back where we took a hard right and went back to the car.

Here are a few photos from our walk on this cloudy day. There are 3 additional photos of the twins. The past week was Halloween, so the boys visited in their “costumes”.

Getting there: From the 321 / 221 intersection in Blowing Rock, drive 1/2 mile and you will see a sign for Bass Lake on your right. You can either park in the gravel parking area out on 221, or you can turn right into the park and there is a large parking area. This place is popular. Alot of the times it’s hard to find parking, so we prefer to park out on 221 and take the path to the lake.


Hwy 321 overlook. A view with some clouds below us.


Zooming in on color and mountain views at the Hwy 321 overlook


Steve walking through the gate from where we park in the little parking area out on Hwy 221 when we visit Bass Lake


And I’m waiting on him. To get to Bass Lake, we’ll go down the hill to the left of this sign.


Looking down the hill from near the parking area. We’ll turn right to get to the Bass Lake loop when we get to the bottom of this hill.


The trail that takes you to Bass Lake


This is where you come out to the Bass Lake loop. Curve to the left up ahead and you will cross the dam.


View of Moses Cone Manor. The water was so still so there’s a nice reflection.


View across the lake of the stone bridge. Again, nice reflection in water due to it being so still.


After you cross the dam, then take a right and cross the bridge, this waterfall is on your right


Continue on left loop to continue around the lake. The trail on the right will take you to Moses Cone Manor and some other trails.


Just walking along the lake


The Heart Pond


The cows were out today


I was able to capture all 4 ducks bobbing for their meals


Eli (the prisoner) and Sawyer (the sheriff)


Eli’s “beard” has just about rubbed off. Then he has that little long sleeve shirt on underneath his prison uniform. Those are his “tattoos”.


A close-up of Sawyer with his little mustache



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