A Travellerspoint blog

Chasing Rainbows

Everyone knows “A River Runs Through It” was set in Montana, celebrities jostle for stream side property around Jackson Hole in Wyoming; and John Gierach’s “Trout Bum” regarded by many as a modern fly fisherman’s manifesto, is set in Colorado

the creek laced mountains of western North Carolina, with several thousand miles of public and private trout water packed into a million acres, there is another version of the sport.

Along the area’s narrow river reaches, casts are typically shorter, the fish are less particular about their diet and anglers can get by with fewer fly patterns. It is entirely feasible to hit one trout stream in the morning, one after lunch and still another before dark.

As trout fishing destinations go, western North Carolina has long remained a relatively unknown on a national level and some contend this has been by design. The locals used to be pretty tightlipped about how good the fishing is in the area.

Annual rainfall averages 90 inches in much of the region, offering up a steady supply of water, while elevations greater than 1,400 feet ensure a cold water environment essential for trout survival. As a result, rainbow, brown and brook trout lurk in abundance at the base of numerous waterfalls and in the deep pools of countless creeks.

The area has recently received more exposure, through books like “Western North Carolina Fly Guide” by J.E. B. Hall (Brushy Mountain Publishing 2007) and in television shows that romanticize the thrills of trout fishing in the southern Appalachians.

Posted by BlueWat 12:33 Archived in USA Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Cruising North Carolina Lake Country

It is obvious that all mountains have crazy roads. Engineers can’t build them straight up and over, after all; they must find reasonable grades and accommodate geological asymmetries. But there are crazy roads and there are crazy roads.

Consider the section of United States Route 129 that winds through the Appalachians of western North Carolina. It is called the Tail of the Dragon because it bends 318 times in just 11 miles, some of the turns seemingly tight enough to snap a motor home in half. Motorcycles and sports car drivers flock from all over North America to ride it.

Despite its running along the southern edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park – by far the busiest national park, with more than nine million visitors a year – the lakes country, which lies west of Asheville, North Carolina and south of Knoxville, Tennessee, is free of Appalachia’s standard roadside attractions: No Dollywood, no Cracker Barrel, no ticky tacky souvenir clutter.

About two thirds of Graham County in North Carolina is national forest and the elevation ranges from 1,170 feet to almost 5,600, so visitors go the lakes and the mountains. The fishing is epic; the hiking on the Appalachian Trail and in the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Creek Wilderness Area is spectacular. If the Nantahala Gorge’s whitewater doesn’t rev your engine, you can pedal through the Tsali trail system, a celebrated mountain biking destination.

The sense of escape is palpable, occasionally even literal: The Cheoah Dam at the south end of the dragon’s tail, was the site of Harrison Ford’s plunge off the spillway scene in “The Fugitive”

We urge you find all the charms of the Carolina Lake Country….

Posted by BlueWat 12:13 Archived in USA Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

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