Lake Powhatan CG
The overnight into our departure day Friday, April 23 was a rough night for me, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d heard some people react to the #2 vaccine shot. Around 1A I awoke to chills, feeling I had a fever. With the campfire wrap and its hood re-wrapped around me, I dozed, but had to arise to relieve myself of much of that water I’d consumed, and was unable to return to sleep due to shivers and chill (and achey joints and muscles). But once I turned on the propane heater, I was able to return to a doze until around 6A, when I took some aspirin and slept again until about 8.
After breakfast and the final pack-up, we left for Asheville, NC and Lake Powhatan Campground (site 52, Lakeside loop), arriving about 3 hours later. Jack had just erected and staked the Clam when one of the hosts broke the news to us that we had to have everything on the paved pad, which meant the Clam had to be jury-rigged (instead of properly staked down) to resist the wind. J&M also had to relocate their Clam as they’d put it in a lovely yard-like area behind their site that wasn’t near anyone or anything. Too bad the personnel in charge hadn’t mentioned that bit of the rule book upon our arrival.
I faded to listless for the day, just resting and lolling about in recovery mode. But with an early easy dinner and a good night’s sleep, I was fine again by Saturday, April 24.
The forecast overnight rain didn’t develop until 7A and carried on for several hours. Our outside temp sensor needed a charge and we’d misplaced the cord, and there wasn’t enough cell signal to catch the online forecast, but we guessed it was in the high 40s. I walked around in the rain, coursing though the chilly, gray loops to get some exercise, then down to the lake itself to check out what could be seen there, including the “beach” and the dam.
Two sites I’d marked that we might consider for any future stay at Lake Powhatan were #36 in the Bent Creek loop, and #43 in the Lake loop. Both include electric, and look roomier and better arranged than our current site (#52 in the Lakeside loop).
The spring dogwoods, redbuds, and lady slipper were blooming and it was a good lighting day for flower pix.
After a brief rain stoppage, the clouds descended again and it continued raining all night. We did discover, however, that if we walked to the end/beginning of our loop, near the dumpster, we could increase our cell service to 2 bars of LTE, mostly. We ate a simple dinner in front of a movie we’d brought along: Promising Young Woman, which was okay but not great.
The clouds lasted into the morning of Sunday, April 25, with temps in the low 50s, but began to clear off and warm up by 11A. John, Mary, Riley, and I hiked the Pine Tree Trail (about 2 miles) for some exercise.
Fellow Altoistes arrived through the day, including Leslie and Nella (and Nella’s friend), Annie, Karen & Steve, and Bill & Michael. After dinners, most of the group gathered at Karen & Steve’s site for campfire chat and catch-up. Later, Andy & Alison arrived.
Monday, April 26th was Jack’s 71st birthday and to celebrate, I thought to make some pecan/cinnamon rolls in the DO, so I got up quite early to begin the fire chimney and putting together the food, but the temps were so cold I was unable to get the pot hot enough, and the rolls weren’t great. We ate them and Jack appreciated the intention, but I’ll have to try again when I both have better charcoal and when I don t’have to fight the ambient temperatures to make it work.
We pulled out the bikes and rode a pretty “Jeep road” (rough surface) called Bent Creek Road to the North Carolina Arboretum property, and linking with the many trails (mostly hiking trails) that weave around the Arboretum acreage.
North Carolina Arboretum
About the Arboretum: Natural beauty comes in a kaleidoscope of colors every season. Surrounded by the lush folds of the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains, the Arboretum is adjacent to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and is nestled in one of the most spectacular natural settings in American. The 434-acre public garden serves as a living classroom for all ages, offering enriching activities that connect people with plants.
Established in 1986 by the General Assembly as an affiliate of the University of NC, the Arboretum was founded nearly a century after Frederick Law Olmsted the “Father of American Landscape Architecture,” first envisioned such an institution near Asheville as part of his legacy to the Biltmore Estate.
Visitors int he NC Arboretum enjoy an array of experiences as rich and diverse as the land itself. You are at the beginning of Hard Times Road, representing one of more than 10 miles of hiking and biking trails on the property. While here, hike our trails enjoy a stroll through the gardens, and uncover the rich heritage and natural history of our area. The Arboretum offers something for everyone:
- 65 acres of cultivated gardens
- Traveling exhibitions from around the country
- Exhibits by regional artist and craftspeople
- One of the nation’s mot unique bonsai collections
After studying the map, we climbed a paved road to the Visitor Center to see beautiful flowers and more visitors than we’d expected. Lots of folks wandering through the gardens surrounding the VC, but we had neglected to carry our bike locks, and did not join in.
The birthday dinner was grilled kielbasa with asparagus and fried potatoes, onions, and mushies, and Mary brought a lovely carrot cake with cream cheese icing for a birthday cake. After dinner, we joined the gang around another campfire, everyone sang Happy Birthday, and we had another chin-wag into the evening.
The next day, Tuesday, April 27, Jack and I returned to the Arboretum with locks and had a lovely wander around the gardens—to visit the Arboretum, you paid for parking and some special exhibits inside the VC, but hiking and wandering around the gardens was open to the public. There were a couple of vendors of food and drink, one of which seemed to be a rather fancy sit-down restaurant, but we’d brought water and snacks and did not partake. It was hot and sunny, so we didn’t hang out for terribly long, and a big disappointment was that the bonsai display was not full, since the weather had not turned reliably warm in April, so the potted trees were not out.
There were fascinating sculptures everywhere and I tried to keep track of those with artists mentioned.
We returned to camp fairly early because the locals (Leslie, Bill & Michael) all recommended we have an early (beat the rush) dinner at a fave restaurant of theirs, the White Duck Taco Shop. It was not easy to find, and there was discussion involving the place’s fate when the overpass gets built, but we ate outside, down by the French Broad River, under umbrellas (another hot day) with the wind blowing to keep things from being stifling, and thoroughly enjoyed our meals.