Friday, April 30, 2010

Wayah Bald Observation Tower

Three or four years ago hubby and I accidentally discovered a wonderful road that winds through the mountains of North Carolina.  It goes north from Hwy 64 near Franklin, NC, very winding and curvy and offers incredible views.  Since we found it we have been over that mountain numerous times, and it is one of our favorite day trips from home.  We had noticed a graveled, steep road leading off of the main road, but just assumed it was a forestry service fire road and didn't think much about it until last fall when I discovered there is an observation tower up there at the peak.  We had intended going up there this past winter, but the few times we went over the main road, the gravel road was basically impassable due to snow and ice.

So a week or so ago we decided since the weather was supposed to be lovely, we would pack a picnic and see if the road up to the top of Wayah Bald was okay to drive - and it was!  While it was narrow and graveled, and a single lane most of the way, the road was in basically pretty good shape, with few major ruts or pot holes.  We drove right up to the top, parked, and walked the 1/4 mile or less to the tower.

The tower was originally a forestry tower, but when it became unsafe, it was turned into this observation tower, and dedicated to the memory of John Byrne, a forestry supervisor in the late 1800's and early 1900's there in the Nantahala National Forest.

The tower is lovely!  Rough rocks, stacked and topped with a roof of large timbers.  It is 53 feet high, or about three stories, so it isn't too much of a climb but the views are incredible!!!   I know these pictures don't do it justice, but wanted to share a bit of the views with you.

We spent a bit of time up there, and encountered a number of hikers who had been on either the Bartram or the Appalachian Trails which go very near the tower.  After we had looked our fill, we headed back down the mountain, taking a slight detour to the Wine Spring Bald - just cell towers, etc. so no real thrill there.  Then we stopped at the Wilson Lick Historical Site.

This site consisted of an old house, barn and falling in outhouse that had been used many years ago as a ranger station.  And it was just beautiful!!!   The buildings were covered in old shingles, gray from the weather.  There were mountain laurels all around, and bits of plants like mountain mint beginning to peek up from the ground.

Now, at the time we already had fully leaved trees and the early spring flowers like forsythia and daffodils were long gone down here in northern Georgia, but up on the bald, there were very few signs of spring yet!  Very few leaves, a few trees in bloom (you know, the pollen kind, not the pretty ones!) and that was about it.  So I would just love to see this place later on in the spring or early summer.

We were there all alone, so we wandered around, enjoying the sunshine and birdsong for a while before we headed on down, back to the main road, and made our way to the boat ramp on Nantahala Lake.  We have picnicked there before, it's just a lovely place, but there are no picnic tables, so we opened up the back gate of my little CRV, I spread the vinyl tablecloth across the back and made our sandwiches.  After we ate we walked down to the dock and took a few pictures.  When we were there back in October that cove of the lake was almost totally dry, but now it is just full of water, and it's the prettiest color!

  I even let Wayne have the camera for a minute and take a picture of me!

It was a gorgeous day, and I know we will go back there over and over again - it's just one of THOSE places!  You can find out more information and get directions by clicking here >>>  Wayah Bald  <<< or doing a search on the internet.  If you are ever in the area, it is well worth the trip!

Well, I've got things to do, so I had better get off of here!  Next time you hear from me, I'll have lots of fun things to tell you about!  Blessings friends!  Becky


aimee said...

what a great find! so nice and so much history. enjoy your day my friend.

bennie and patsy said...

A fun day for sure.

LeAnna said...

What a pretty area!

Janean said...

beeee-utiful! thank you for taking us along! :)