Posted by: lylescott89 | July 2, 2012

Franklin NC Day 6: Rufus Morgan & Wayah Bald

Hey kids,

Wednesday arrived and we had to decide what was on the agenda for the day.  Adam had said earlier in the week that he was really looking forward to having a picnic in the forest or up on a mountain.  We thought that this day would be perfect for such an event.  After yet another delicious breakfast, Donna packed up the cooler with some sandwiches, fruit and water and we were on our way.  We thought it wise to pay a visit to the ranger station before we went too far so we could get a map and a recommendation for a good picnic spot.  We told the woman at the ranger station that we were in the mood for a mild hike followed by a picnic.  She suggested we take a visit to the Rufus Morgan trail, which she described as an easy loop trail with a lovely waterfall, followed by a drive up Wayah Bald Tower for a picnic and a great view of Franklin and the mountains.  It all sounded good to us so off we went.

Knowing that the Rufus Morgan trail was not marked from the main road we had to look for a mile marker sign to tell us where to turn.  We found it with no difficulty and then began down a long-ass dirt road to our destination.  We arrived and found that we were the only ones there that morning.  There was not another car in sight.  While Adam and I already had our own walking sticks, we saw that there were several there resting on the sign for anyone to use.  Donna borrowed one and off we went.

The trail itself was barely visible at times and we were often confused as to where we were going.  You recall when the lady at the ranger station said it was easy?  I really do not want to know what she considers difficult because this was a rocky trail that was steep in some parts and ridiculously overgrown.  The trail had not been maintained for years.  As we hiked we could hear the flow of water, but never could actually see it.  Still, we knew it was there.  The scenery was beautiful, despite my fears that someone was going to jump me from the woods and make me squeal like a pig.  Adam found bear tracks and got a bit freaked out, but quickly realized that finding bear tracks is pretty darn cool and substantially better than finding an angry bear.  Finally we came to some water and the path just stopped.  The only way across was to walk over slippery rocks.  Despite my attempts to be careful I fell down and was soaked.  At least I did not hurt myself.  We knew that finding water meant the waterfall was nearby so we continued upward.

When we finally reached the falls they were indeed a beautiful sight.  The way the water pounded the rocks was like a symphony.  It was soothing and made a difficult trip seem worth it.  Well, until it was time to try and get back to the car, which I was guessing by now had been overrun by either critters or that guy that wanted me to squeal like a pig.  We spent a good 30 minutes at the falls for no other reason than we were exhausted, but eventually it was time to move on and we headed down the rest of the trail.  Good thing the trail was a loop because I did not want to cross over wet rocks again.  Whoa, what the heck is this?  Another stream with wet rocks?  Who designed this trail?  Seneca Crane?  I demand to speak with the trail maker.  I did not fall this time.  And due to gravity, going down the mountain was much less strenuous than going up.  At the bottom we found our vehicle intact and two other cars parked nearby.  There was also a third car with two women getting out and ready to tackle the trail.  We wished them look and moved on to Wayah Bald.

Now driving up Wayah Bald was a little scarier than I had anticipated.  The road was narrow and steep, but we made it to the top.  We sat down at a bench for our picnic.  I will not bore you with the details of eating a turkey sandwich and some chips, but I will tell you that the flies in the area zeroed in on us almost immediately making it quite difficult to enjoy the picnic.  Adam decided he’d rather eat in the car and we quickly moved inside.

After lunch we walked the short (and very easy) trail up to the historic Wayah Bald Fire Tower and were treated to some spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains.  The views were beautiful and we were told we could see not only North Carolina from our vantage point, but also South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.    It was a beautiful day at the time although we knew rain was in the forecast for later.  We took loads of photos and would have gladly spend more time there than we did, but the place had been overrun by a gaggle of Boy Scouts who had stopped off for lunch as they traveled.  The kids were not really all that interested in moving out of anyone’s way.  So we headed back to the car and back down the mountain.  Again, it was quite steep and I had to use a lower gear, but we made it.

Adam and I were both hot and extremely sweaty and desperately needed a dip in a pool.  Unfortunately for us the home we were staying in did not have a pool or access to one.  Fortunately for us Donna was prepared and packed swimsuits for us and knew where the public pool was located.  She guided me there and we grabbed our suits and towels and headed in.  The sign at the front said it was $2.00 for adults and $1.00 for children, which I thought was reasonable.  However it was now 3:00 and the pool closed at 4:00 so we had to get swimming soon.  I went to the window to pay and the cute brunette told me that it was free for the last hour of the day.  Way cool!  So Adam and I quickly changed, added some sunscreen and were in the pool in a matter of seconds while Donna went to shop. It was not crowded so we were able to have a very nice time swimming and cooling off.

We departed the pool shortly before 4:00 PM and headed back to our home away from home to relax.  Dinner was on the agenda and when it came time for it neither one of us wanted to cook so it was off for some pizza.  When I travel I am always anxious to try pizza from different parts of the country.  I am rarely disappointed.  I did a little research and found a place called Vito’s that had some very positive reviews so it was off to Vito’s for dinner.  Again my alter ego, Sir Griffin Stromboli will be doing a complete write up on the place, but for now there is my brief review on Trip Advisor which you can access by clicking here.  Suffice to say the pizza was delicious and we got one heck of a deal.

After dinner we drove around town a bit and then went straight back to our temporary home.  We spend the evening relaxing as we knew that Thursday would be quite the adventure.  Stay tuned for more.



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