No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service | Camping at Gragg Prong Creek, North Carolina
A few summers ago, right after I moved to North Carolina, a couple of my best friends here asked if I wanted to go camping with them? It was basically a rhetorical question to me because hey, camping! This time I did something I'd never done before: backpack camping.
GLAMPING VS. BACKPACKING
My version of camping was always a drive-up, bring tons of gear, no hiking kind of camping so there was much to learn about doing it this way. Everything had to fit in, on, or around the backpack including tent, sleeping bag, towel, tarps, cooking gear, food, flashlight, clothes, toiletries, and <gulp> TP because there are no bathrooms back yonder.
It took careful packing, but we did it this way a couple of years and had a blast. It was life unplugged and, aside from no bathrooms, I loved it. This year we did it spur-of-the-moment and decided to go a bit easier on our backs, and drive-up. There was still no "running" water, bathrooms, or cell phone service but we didn't have to trek back in. It was easier and just as fun.
GRAGG PRONG CREEK
First there is the business of setting up camp: tents, flower bouquets, exploring the creek, and chopping wood.
Here is the conclusion I have arrived at: one should always go rugged-camping with men. We girls probably could've hacked those logs after a day or two, but these guys dragged in logs and set to while the wood chips flew. If you think I am flattering consider yourself challenged to go try the same for an hour straight, and then tell me it isn't notable.
Remember to click on the photo to see more of the impressiveness.
Meanwhile I didn't earn my keep, by shooting photos. If this doesn't make you want to camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains though, I don't know what will.
FOOD, FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
As you will see below we ate meagerly. I mean, mmm'eagerly. Each dish was expertly prepared and flavor was added with a touch of smoke, a dash of rain, and fajita seasoning. The rain came in the middle of supper prep but it couldn't dampen our enthusiasm. Thank goodness for tarps and camp stoves.
OF MORNINGS AND COFFEE
Pièce de Ré·sis·tance
Take the trail marked by the pin (in a map below) and about 3/4th of a mile in is a mountain pool that holds deep fondness in my heart. It's cold enough to "burn" your skin and you can't stay in very long but you come out a new person, tingling with life. There is a short waterfall at the inception of the pool and another where it ends to make you feel like you are part of rush that will end far, far away.
It's a fantastic place to go on a sunny afternoon to jump in the pool and then warm up on the sun-baked rocks, with plenty of pools that are shallow and kid friendly. The trail back in isn't rugged and is easily navigable for most kids and adults.
Yes, the good life.
On the way home we stopped along the Blue Ridge Parkway for supper-with-a-view. We had meant to stop somewhere, but this spot choose us when one of the vehicles had a mechanical issue. We didn't mind a'tall.
It felt like just the sort of ending one would expect from a book, only we got to live the real thing.
Click on the map to get a precise location, and let me know what you think!
A short blurb about the pack I used on the this camping trip. Love it love it love it. It's the Dakine Vagabond with a detachable day pack and option to turn the pack into a duffel.
It has a water bottle pocket to fit my Nalgene, and handy inside and outside pockets that seem to fit everything magically. I'll let you guess where I safeguard chocolate stashes. **
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