Leaving the Cherokee National Forest area, our next destination was Grandfather Mountain State Park in the Pisgah National Forest ...
... then Linville Falls (one of several North Carolina mountain locations where the 1992 version of "Last of the Mohicans" was filmed.)
This is NOT the biggest waterfall, seen in last 20 minutes of the movie - that would be Hickory Falls at Chimney Rock, which we didn't visit - yet ...
During our entire trip there, it averaged a high of 74 degrees - perfect temperature - and the mid-to-upper 60s in the higher altitudes (so bring a jacket) - but also why we didn't swim or do water sports this time ;)
We started with Grandfather Mountain State Park, which we assumed was a lot further away from where we were already staying in Vilas/Boone than it was - had we realized it was closer, we would've gone sooner, rather than after checking out and traveling South, so that we'd have had more time there, because it was actually my favorite placed visited.
We did sort of a sweep of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, in sort of a backwards C, on the Eastern side of the Smoky/Blue Ridge Mountains, from Vilas to Bryson City, to Fontana Village, then back home through Cherokee - in other words, it was sort of a general survey of the area, the quick sweeping tour, not leaving us much time to linger, explore, and read the history of each location. However - we're hopefully going back soon to focus on certain areas - and one of those areas we want to explore more is Banner Elk near Grandfather Mountain and Linville :)
Grandfather Mountain is one of the tallest peaks in North Carolina, and it is the highest peak in this area - at 5946 feet above sea level.
Also, in addition to numerous trails, at the top, there is a nature museum and wildlife exhibit, which includes busy hummingbird feeders, river otters, elk, American bald eagles, mountain cougars, and Matilda the black bear (who didn't peek out for us today, so we saw 0 bears on this trip lol.)
All the animals you see below were either previously injured or sick and thus cannot be released back into the wild. Also, they're building an even larger exhibit, but it's not quite finished yet.
(Don't forget, our digital camera was accidentally dropped in the hot tub and went kaput - so we're left with cell pictures and a sad cheap little digital - but I might add more photos over the next few days as I come across them.)
Our journey, in chronological order, along the way to/along/atop Grandfather Mountain ...