It was 80 degrees when I started my trip early Friday morning. The 2 1/2 hour leisurely drive to Chimney Rock Campground was easy and there was little traffic. I knew that it was going to be hot though, the weather forecast was mid 90’s and a chance of thunderstorms. When I arrived and set up camp, it was obvious that it was too late in the day to travel the additional distance to the Dupont National Forest. This was my weekend destination and I didn’t want to rush my time through the beautiful scenery that was to come. So a few hours shopping and strolling the town of Chimney Rock, a stop at “Ingles” to get beer and food and the evening was set. Here is a picture of the river at Chimney Rock, as you can see it is nice and clean and it is easily accessible from the town’s main road. There is actually a stroll way built for all to enjoy. But enough of Chimney Rock, I was telling you of the evening to come. First there was the temperature. The weatherman was correct, the thermometer had moved to 95 degrees and it was seriously muggy. So what should a camper do? Especially if his campsite is beside a cool river? Jump in of course! A few adult beverages later, properly prepared coals on a grill and quick shower got us to meal time. There is nothing like burgers and dogs on a grill. Add a little music and good company and the day ended with sleepy campers. On to the next adventure. I had read about the Dupont National Forest a few weeks back and wanted to hike some and see the scenery. The Forest is home to some nice falls and lakes. I thought it would be a good place to day hike a few miles and see the sights. It was a 1 1/2 hour trip to the state run forest and it was crowded on the sides of the roads with hikers and tourists. In fact there was a festival going on down the road which probably caused the total number of visitors to be greater than normal. A short hike from the visitors center gets you to the covered bridge that overlooks the first set of falls. The slow moving water at the top winds its way down the mountain for great views and water fun. The first of the falls is High Falls which is seen here. At its bottom, there are places for play and getting wet, but the hike to the bottom is not easy, so be prepared. After checking out that fall, we continued to the next one, Triple Falls. This was about a 1 1/2 mile from the visitor’s center. It had a rather steep trail to the bottom but what was neat about the falls was the number of people at the bottom, swimming and sunning. It was great to watch the little kids wade out onto the rocks and start the “slide” down them only to be thrown into the deeper pools when the slide ended. All told, there was 50 to 60 people at the bottom when we got there and many more working their way down or up depending on if they had just got there or had been there all day. Since I wasn’t prepared to swim, all I could do was be envious of those that knew about this hidden gem. So after a few minutes of cooling off toes, it was time to work our way back up the mountain and take the next trail. Our plans were to take the Lake trail and put in a few more miles of great scenery, but weather in the summer is fickle. A storm came over the mountain top and it seemed advisable to finish our hike, dry and safe. We reached our vehicles just as the rain and thunder began. We never got to take that lake hike but will be back as soon as we can to see the other awesome sights at Dupont. All in all, a good trip, free for those that like no costs, good trails and plenty of memories. Check it out first chance you get
Watch your six.