And we certainly didn’t plan on a storm delivering six inches of rain overnight and flooding the peaceful little campground, followed by a tropical storm. But hey! We didn’t float away, it’s 15 degrees cooler here than it is in Florida, and there are no biting bugs (which I don’t exactly understand, but it’s wonderful).
Settling In To A Sweet RV Park
After 18 months of stationary life, we decided that staying in an RV park for a month, not too far from home, would help us get accustomed to traveling again. Plus, if it turned out to be a disaster, we could head back to Florida.
We found a sweet small park perfectly located for lots of adventures in Western North Carolina. Riverbend RV Resort is in Lake Toxaway, in the heart of waterfall country. Nearby are lots of interesting little towns, including Brevard, Cashiers, Highlands, and Sapphire. And it’s only an hour from Asheville, one of our favorite places we’ve visited in our travels.
This is radically different from our usual style of travel. Typically, we stay in state or national parks whenever possible, and we move every few days. But this little park has pretty sites just as nice as a state park. And because we booked for a month, the rate is $675 with full hook-ups included, which is much less expensive than many state parks.
Riverbend only has about two dozen sites. There’s blazing fast free internet, a nice small laundry, a beautiful pavilion on the creek, and assorted laid-back social events. It’s an easy place to ease back into RV life.
Adjusting To Living In A Trailer Again
We have a long list of things we want to do while we’re here, and staying put allows for a sense of spaciousness in our explorations. Unlike our usual agenda of hiking/exploring/adventuring every single day, we’re having days when we just hang around the RV park and catch up on life. Staying in one place also gives the three of us time to adjust to living together in our trailer.
On the days when we don’t head out for adventures, we get plenty of exercise walking the trails in the park. I’ve figured out two loops around the entire park adds up to a four-mile hike, with some good uphill stretches.
Eric and I lived full-time in our trailer for seven-and-a-half years. Even when we were back home in Oregon, we stayed in our trailer. Even when we visited my parents in Florida every winter, we stayed in our trailer. It was our cozy little nest.
Most of the time, we’re really happy with our trailer. But after living in a 1600-square foot house for the last 18 months, the trailer feels small. Especially when it rains (which we will get to in a moment). The truth is that in the realm of full-time traveling, our 27-foot trailer is small for two people. Add in a cat, and it’s even smaller. Fortunately, it has a deep slide-out that magically expands our living space and adds immensely to a harmonious living situation.
Traveling with Magnolia is part of our re-adjustment to trailer living. Much as we try, our rules at home (no kitty on the dining table!) are not working in the trailer. The only thing we’ve been able to enforce is “no kitty on the kitchen counter,” and I’m quite sure that only applies when we’re around to enforce the rule. You have to choose your battles, right? However, we do move her off of the table when we’re eating.
She was so little when she came barreling out of the woods last February. Now, at 10 months old, she weighs a hefty 11 pounds. And she’s not done growing. My friend Lindi has a Bengal kitty, and thinks Magnolia may be part marbled Bengal. Whatever she is, we love her.
A Rainforest And An Epic Rainstorm
Did you know that Western North Carolina is in the Appalachian temperate rain forest? We did not. As I mentioned earlier, this lovely place that we’ve chosen to spend our summer gets about 80 inches of rain per year.
That means waterfalls galore, and hiking trails through verdant forests. It also means that the weather forecast calls for rain almost every day. Fortunately, we’ve learned that the rain is predictable. The mornings are sunny with blue skies and puffy white clouds, which build into thunderheads that deliver a torrential storm almost every afternoon starting at 2 p.m. We’re working our hiking adventures around nature’s schedule.
We have big, roiling thunderstorms almost every day that dump copious amounts of rain. But nothing prepared us for the epic storm last week. Six inches of rain overnight caused the mellow little creek that flows through the campground to flood. According to locals, it was a 100-year storm. (Have you noticed that there are a lot of 100-year events happening recently?) A couple of days later, tropical storm Fred came through, and delivered a lot more rain. We’re lucky that our site is on high ground.
Hiking After The Storm
The day after the storms subsided, we thought it would be fun to see the effects of the rain on nearby waterfalls. Gorges State Park is only five miles from our campground, and boasts one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the land of waterfalls. We had hiked previously to Rainbow Falls, and it was lovely.
We continued another half-mile up the trail to Turtleback Falls. This is a popular swimming hole. But not on this day.
And…We’ve Decided To Stay Longer!
We realized pretty quickly that a month is not nearly long enough to explore this area. So we’ve extended our stay into October.
Come September, we’ll have to move sites. We were lucky that they have a site available. But…it’s one of the two sites that was underwater during the flood. We’ve been assured that the rains will soon abate. And, of course, that was a 100-year flood. :-)