Friday, September 8, 2017

Great Outdoors RV Resort, Franklin, NC

Date of Stay:  Friday August 11 – Friday September 8, 2017 (1 month)

Rate:  $625/month plus electric ($105 for us)

Website:  Great Outdoors RV Resort
   321 Thumpers Trail (gps 35.233108   83.347896)
   Franklin, NC 28734

Description:  Located just north of Franklin (far southwestern tip of NC) on Hwy 441/23, this park has easy access for big rigs.  Paved roadways and gravel sites with FHU(50A) and cable tv.  We were on site 6 and had good data signal with Verizon but had to drive up the hill to make phone calls.  Nice office building for check-in and LP filling and a separate clubhouse near the heated swimming pool.  This area is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest with the Chattahoochee National Forest just south of here in Georgia.  The Appalachian Trail runs nearby so there are lots of trails and nature to enjoy here.

Trash and Recycle:  Dumpster near the exit but no recycle.  

Activities:  Tricia and Dan stayed on site 3 so we enjoyed our time together.  We had several shared meals, hikes, car hikes and relaxing  times with them.  One of the first hikes I did with T&D was actually several short hikes along a narrow curvy dirt road (FS67) to see Laurel Falls, Mooney Falls, Albert Mountain Fire Tower, and Pickens Nose.  Tricia’s sister Barbra joined them for a few days and we hiked to Williams Pulpit on the Wallace Branch of the Bartram Trail and also the Tennessee River Greenway in Franklin together.  It was time for some car hikes with Gin and T&D.  We took FS67 just for the adventure because it is a very curvy mountain dirt road.  We all went to the town of Highlands (too rich for my blood) by way of Hwy 64 which is curvy and goes right by some waterfalls.  When I made the reservation last winter, I was told that we would be here for the “big event” on August 21.  When I asked what that was, I was pleasantly surprised when I was told about the total solar eclipse. We were in the path of totality and it was awesome!  The rv park had live music at the clubhouse but we hung out with T&D and it was great!  Another car hike found us at Fontana Dam near Bryson City and the Road to Nowhere which is a decaying dead end road in the Great Smoky Mountain NP.  Time for another hike so I joined T&D on Jackrabbit Trail on Chatuge Lake.  We also found Bell Mountain near Hiawassee, GA with such beautiful views that we had to take Gin on a car hike there.  Although it is a paved road leading to it, it is still narrow, steep and curvy.  A couple more hikes included Rufus Morgan Trail and Wayah Bald Tower with the AT winding beside the dirt road leading to it (FS69).  We all went to Bryson City one day for a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in an open air car to the Nantahala Gorge. It was nice but noisy.  One of the latter car hikes took us all to a couple of farms in GA and SC (Hillside Orchard… kid friendly, and Chattooga Belle Farm… beautiful, adult friendly).  On Labor Day, I went with T&D to Tallulah River Gorge State Park in GA.  The hiking trails have several overlooks to soak up the beauty of the gorge but there are over 1000 stair-steps along the trails and a suspension bridge!  We actually left here a couple of days earlier than planned because Hurricane Irma was coming up Florida and the forecast was for a lot of rain in the western part of NC.

Great Outdoor RV Resort, Franklin NC
Great Outdoors RV Resort entrance  Office ready for Total Solar Eclipse
Entrance to the rv park                            Office on Total Solar Eclipse day
Swimming pool from the Clubhouse  Clubhouse deck
Swimming pool                                        Deck of clubhouse
On site 6  Patio of site 6
On site 6

Laurel Falls and Mooney Falls
T&D hiking to Laurel Falls  Hiking to Laurel Falls  Beautiful mountain creek
Nice wooded hike by a creek to Laurel Falls
T&D hiking to Laurel Falls  Dan at Laurel Falls  Laurel Falls
More hiking to find the reward of Laurel Falls
Short hike to Mooney Falls  Tricia and Dan at Mooney Falls
It was a short trail to Mooney Falls

Albert Mountain Fire Tower
Fog rolling in at Albert Mountain Fire Tower  Fog rolling in at Albert Mountain Fire Tower
Fog is rolling in at the fire tower, still a nice view
Dan at Albert Mountain Fire Tower  Only 3 flights of stairs
The fire tower only has three flights of stairs…
 Tricia enjoys the views from the fire tower  D&T are far enough  I made it up too!
…but that’s high enough for Tricia and me.  Dan’s just a billy goat!

Pickens Nose
Goof balls!  Tricia enjoying the view from an offshoot along the trail
Goofballs!                                      Wonderful view along the trail
Ups and downs on the trail  T&D on Pickens Nose Trail  Rhododendron hug!
Wooded trail has some burned spots from last years fire but we got a rhododendron hug from nature!
T gets a foggy view  Nice!!  Fog rolling in on Dan
Views near the top
Pickens Nose white out  Dan with white out fog at Pickens Nose
Fog rolled in and it was total white out… no view at all!

Williams Pulpit on Wallace Branch of Bartram Trail
Early on the hike  Dan, Barbra and Tricia on Bartram Trail  Tricia and Barbra by a nice little waterfall
Nice hike in the woods with Dan, Barbra and Tricia
Barbra and Tricia hiking up  Hiking downhill is easier on the heart  Hiking down hill
Mostly up hill to get there then back down… I’m so proud of you!
View from the Pulpit  View from the Pulpit
Gorgeous view from the pulpit!

Waterfalls along Hwy 64
Cullasaja Falls on Hwy 64  Cullasaja Falls on Hwy 64
Cullasaja Falls
Bust Your Butt Falls on Hwy 64  Gin at Bust Your Butt Falls
Bust Your Butt Falls
Dry Falls on Hwy 64  Syl, Tricia and Dan on walkway behind Dry Falls
Dry Falls
Nice walkway at Dry Falls  Syl, Tricia and Dan on walkway behind Dry Falls
Dry Falls has a nice parking lot so that you can take the walkway behind the falls
Syl, Tricia and Dan on walkway behind Dry Falls  Behind Dry Falls
                         Syl, Tricia and Dan waving up to Gin                    Yes we stayed dry
IMG_2500  Judaculla Rock Petroglyphs
Judaculla Rock Petroglyphs also found on this car hike

Total Solar Eclipse
Tricia and Gin Total Solar Eclipse  Gin and Dan Total Solar Eclipse  Gin and Syl looking at Total Solar Eclipse
Tricia and Gin                          Dan and Gin                           Gin and Syl
Total Solar Eclipse  Dan, Gin and Tricia watching the Total Solar Eclipse
No pics of the actual eclipse because I didn’t want to take a chance of messing up my camera

Fontana Dam and the Road to Nowhere
Fontana Lake  T&D at an overlook to Fontana Lake
                                      Fontana Lake                                   T&D at an overlook of the lake
At Fontana Dam Visitor Center  Fontana Dam
Fontana Dam and the Visitor Center
Road to Nowhere  Dan and Tricia walking Road to Nowhere  Entering tunnel of Road to Nowhere
Road to Nowhere was supposed to go around Fontana Lake but the government never completed it

Jackrabbit Trail on Chatuge Lake
Jack Rabbit Trail  Jack Rabbit Trail  Jack Rabbit Trail
Gentle wooded trail but shared with mountain bikers
Lunch break  Chatuge Lake
Lunch break on Chatuge Lake

Bell Mountain, Hiawassee GA
Top of Bell Mountain  Top of Bell Mountain
Top of Bell Mountain is scarred due to a mining fiasco
Top deck  View from the top deck
Deck atop the mountain
View from Bell Mountain  View of Chatuge Lake from Bell Mountain in Hiawassee GA
The views of Chatuge Lake are gorgeous!
View from Bell Mountain  IMG_2557
Worth driving the steep curvy narrow road!
Gin and Syl at Bell Mountain  Gin enjoys the view
Especially nice to share with Gin on a picture perfect day!

Rufus Morgan Trail
Rufus Morgan Tail makes a nice loop to a waterfall  Nice mountain cascade  Rufus Morgan nice walk
Nice wooded loop trail to a waterfall with a little cascade along the way
Syl at the waterfall  Waterfall on Rufus Morgan Trail  Tricia at the waterfall
Syl and Tricia at the main waterfall… Dan’s in the middle pic but quite small

Wayah Bald Observation Tower
Fire damage at Wayah Bald  Paved walkway to Wayah Bald Observation Tower  Truck on the Appalachian Trail
Fire damage from Fall 2016          Paved walk to the tower             Truck on the Appalachian Trail
Observation Tower at Wayah Bald  Observation Tower minus the roof
Wayah Bald Observation tower with the roof burned off… the AT goes right around it
View from Wayah Bald  View from the tower
View from the tower on a cloudy day

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
Inside our car  Parked for a break
                                  Inside our open air car                    Parked for a break at Nantahala Gorge
It takes two diesel...  ...locomotives to pull the train in these mountains
It takes two diesel locomotives to pull the train in these mountains
Train goes right by the Nantahala River  Los of kudzu  Rounding a curve
Love looking around the curves but lots of kudzu
Dan and Tricia  Tricia riding the trestle bridge  Riding the train trestle over Fontana Lake
Great day to look out the window at Fontana Lake on the trestle bridge
Fontana Lake from the train  That's the front of the train!
Fontana Lake                                    That’s the front of the train!
Raft on the Nantahala River  Parked next to the Nantahala River Gorge rapids
Folks rafting the Nantahala River                Train parked next to the river rapids
Parked for a break  Several road crossings  We had the Fontana Open Air car
We enjoyed our day riding a piece of history

Tallulah River Gorge
Nice trail  L'Eau d'Or Falls  Hurricane Falls
Nice trail                                  L’Eau d’Or Falls                         Hurricane Falls
Over 1000 steps here  Suspension Bridge at Tallulah River Gorge
Lots of stair steps!                                   Suspension bridge too!
Suspension Bridge  We are doing it!  T&D at Hurricane Falls
Yes, we did it!
I'm enjoying a beautiful day!  Billy Goat Dan  Tricia enjoying the day!
Beautiful day at gorgeous Tallulah Gorge!