May 2-3, 2015
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien; The Hobbit
Some weekends are not about hiking twenty miles, testing your fortitude over tough terrain, and roughing it. Some weekends are for beautiful, easy-going trails, cooking marshmallows and hotdogs over a campfire, laughter, and reading The Hobbit in a tent.
This past weekend was meant for the latter. I was excited for the family to be out camping again, doubly excited for this to be the first camping trip for our soon-to-be-born child. I wanted an easy grade trail with a great campsite, and found exactly that at Farlow Gap.
Just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Hwy. 215 (in North Carolina), we turned onto Forest Service Road 140 (FS 140). The road itself is chock-full of potholes and narrow. After two (2) miles there is a sign and gate for Forest Service Road 5031 (FS 5031). We parked the car and started the four (4) mile hike to our destination. FS 5031 is immaculately maintained, with none of the tell-tale signs of a normal service road, i.e. tall grass, trees down. The grade is easy and not strenuous. Two (2) miles in we encountered beautiful Kiesee Creek, which made Gracie run about like a dog possessed with happiness.
After three (3) miles, we came to a fork, and took the northern path towards Farlow Gap. Above the giant rock at the gap is a beautiful campsite. We unloaded our belongings, made a fire and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows, sat around, read to each other, played Mad Libs, and watched the stars come out into the sky.
The next morning we made a breakfast of hot oatmeal and fresh apple slices. The hike down to the car was very enjoyable in the warm sun.
To cap the hike, we drove further down FS 140 to Courthouse Falls, a beautiful spot with waterfalls, greenery and cliffs.
Total mileage is 8 miles.