Page 20 of Roosta Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Tennessee » Cleveland May 22nd 2011

Today, I had to deal with the aftereffects of yesterday. I was pretty drained physically. I had an idea this would happen, so I scheduled today as another recovery day. I spent a good portion of the day in bed. Unlike last week, thankfully this one was by choice. Tomorrow, the road calls.... read more

Today, I run the Ocoee. This river is considered the best whitewater trip in Tennessee. It’s also the most popular rafting trip in the United States. A month from now, it will be nearly impossible to move due to all the boats in the river. For me, the trip was very important; after my experience on the Chatooga, I was using this river as a bellwether about booking more rafting on this road trip. I ultimately got my answer, but not in the way I had intended. The Ocoee River is dam controlled. The dams were built in the 1920s, by a power company that was ultimately acquired by the Tennessee Valley Authority. In 1976, the Authority was forced to open the dams completely while it rebuilt the power canals. Thousands of whitewater enthusiasts descended on ... read more
Needle's Eye
Garden Gnome gardening
Mushroom Rock

North America » United States » Tennessee » Gatlinburg May 20th 2011

Today was another day in the Great Smoky Mountains. I spent quite a bit of time deciding where. The park is huge, and much of it is located away from roads. I eventually chose the Roaring Fork auto tour, because it has a wide variety of experiences in a small area. The first challenge with Roaring Fork is finding it. The road first goes to Gatlinburg. This town is a miniature Pigeon Forge, with a similar range of cheesy entertainment and shopping options. The big difference with Pigeon Forge is that all of this is wrapped in pseudo-Bavarian architecture. The town wants to look like a quaint village in the Alps. The issue for me is that it’s not in the Alps, it’s a tourist trap in eastern ... read more
Chestnut tree graveyard
Noah Ogle's Gristmill
Roaring Fork road overlook

Today is my first day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s the most popular national park in the US. Part of the reason is that many of the land gifts for the park came on the condition that it would never charge an entrance fee. People think the park was created to preserve the mountains. It was actually created to preserve what is ON the mountains, the most biologically diverse environment in the United States. The Smoky Mountains contain the widest range of climate zones in the eastern United States, and they were beyond the reach of the glaciers during the last ice age. The natural result is that these mountains contain a wider variety of plants and animals than anywhere else in the country, and many of them are endangered. It also contains the ... read more
Sequoyah Statue
Historic Cherokee baskets
Cherokee Alphabet

Today, I see yet more waterfalls. There is a distinctive difference between these falls and the ones from yesterday. With two exceptions, all of the falls yesterday were located near roads. Most of the waterfalls for today are located along trails deep in the forest. They require long hikes to reach. Local enthusiasts tend to prefer these falls, simply because the work needed means that only outdoor enthusiasts ever see them. These beauties must be earned. Lower Whitewater Falls The first waterfall I saw is the highest waterfall in South Carolina. Remember that the last waterfall yesterday was Upper Whitewater Falls. Lower Whitewater Falls is nearly as high. It takes much more effort to reach. For starters, the trail head is located on land owned by Duke Power as part of the url=ht... read more
Flood Debris
Lower Whitewater Falls
Trail to Stairway Falls

Western North Carolina has some of the steepest mountain valleys in the eastern US. The central part is a high mountain covered plateau. This area also gets quite a bit of rain. These factors combine to give this part of the state the highest density of waterfalls over a large area in the US. There are areas with a high number in a small region (such as Rickets Glen State Park in Pennsylvania) but none has as many over a wide area. Today, I explore many of them. My guidebook for this part of the trip was the waterfall lover’s bible: url= Carolina Waterfalls by Kevin Adams. It has detailed descriptions and maps for hundreds of waterfalls. Since it had rai... read more
First drop, Glen Falls
Quartz veins
Second drop, Glen Falls

North America » United States » Georgia » Clayton May 16th 2011

Today is my first official day exploring the southern Appalachian Mountains. They are the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River, and many people consider then nearly as beautiful as the Rockies. These mountains were settled by hard-scrapple pioneer families, mostly from Scotland and Ireland. Their descendents are still here. Mountain Driving Before describing the journey, I need to describe the driving. It’s different enough from driving that most people are used to, and difficult enough, that my guidebook has a section on it. Roads in this region do everything possible except go in a flat line. They curve, constantly. They go up and down, constantly. The grades are often very steep. This region is a very good place to destroy both transmissions and brakes. ... read more
Rabun Gap
Blue Valley
Laurelwood Inn

North America » United States » Georgia » Clayton May 15th 2011

When researching this trip, everyone I talked to discussed the need for contingency planning. On a long trip, something will go wrong at some point. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, only ‘when’ and how much time and money it will suck up. On the trip so far, I’d been pretty fortunate. I’d had to rearrange things on occasion, and drop an attraction here and there, but there had been nothing major. Today, that changed. My plan was to raft the Chattooga section IV, the one where much of Deliverance was filmed. I’d had a taste of it the previous day. I got the sense that things were not going to go as planned at four AM, when I found myself in the cabin bathroom rather than resting for the trip the next day. I had ... read more
Issaqueena Falls
South Carolina Mountain Laurel

North America » United States » Georgia » Clayton May 14th 2011

Deliverance Today is my first day rafting the Chattooga River. It is the most remote river in the southeast, and one of the best whitewater trips. In the early 1970s, it was used as the filming site of the movie Deliverance. The book and movie tell the story of a trip on a remote Georgia river that goes horribly wrong; it’s intended as a parable for man’s survival in a cruel world. This book and movie are to northern Georgia roughly what Gone With the Wind is to Atlanta. Locals love it for the publicity and tourism it created. They hate it for the wildly inaccurate depictions of local culture it contains, basically that everyone are violent backwoodsmen. The trailer. The river scenes are very familiar after rafting the river. youtube=-3... read more

The Biltmore I spent today in Asheville , North Carolina, visiting the Biltmore. It’s a Gilded Age masterpiece that happens to be the largest house ever built in the US. Visiting here creates a painful dilemma. Biltmore is an entirely private attraction, so it charges very high admission fees to pay the cost of keeping the place running. The fees are so high that the only way to justify a visit is to spend the entire day seeing everything it has to offer. Thanks to the schedule I had to keep, this meant I had to choose between seeing Biltmore and seeing anything else in Ashville. I ultimately chose Biltmore, because a sight this impressive is just too important to pass up. It put every other house to... read more
Biltmore and Mountains
Biltmore front
George Vanderbilt's Blue Ridge

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