Cumberland Falls, Cumberland Falls State Park, Honeybee/Corbin, Kentucky

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Sunday, July 10, 2022

Biggie's Big Appalachian Vacation, Days #4 and #5: Blue Ridge Parkway/Cascade Falls, Purlear, NC, The Trip Home, and Roadside Oddities ...

(*Edited - content and pics added)


So with Mark's knee getting better each day, we decided to try an actual hiking trail today, to Cascade Falls at E.B. Jeffries Park, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, in Purlear North Carolina. 

Just to the east of Boone, near Deep Gap, you can hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, making it about 20 minutes from our cabin.

Before the trail was a  lookout point on the BRP, so we stopped and I took a panoramic. 

At the end of the video, you can just just a trace of Aaliyah, being filmed by her boyfriend, David, who ended up being our hiking buddies - super nice, super fun people :)

However, first, of course, Biggie insisted we take a pic of him with the view ...

Just a bit down the road from that is the Cascades Trail to Cascade Falls ... 

Where we pulled in at exactly the same time as David and Aaliyah.  We chatted for a minute, but Mark and I had to make quick bathroom trips, so they went on ahead - much to David's chagrin, who wanted to wait.  They were from coastal Carolina and said he "Doesn't do woods," he's scared of the mountain lions and bears.  

I reassured him this trail was very populated, making it very unlikely for either to bother, so on they went and we said we'd catch up.

Once Mark and I were finished, here came back Aaliyah and David and I said, "There's no way you saw them that fast, what happened?"

Aaliyah said, "My 'girlfriend' wants you all to join us, it's safer" LOL!

David just shook his head and laughed.

I told them I was afraid of heights, plus sharks, where they're from, so it's cool, everybody's afraid of something, and then showed him Biggie to make him laugh, which worked.   

They got a big kick out of Biggie traveling in Mark's hoodie (as everyone did) and I believe they took their own pic of him to tell people they saw Bigfoot too lol.

That's David in the left corner of the pic ... 

So it's Aaliyah first, then David, then me, then Mark behind.

Me:  "I see what you're doing, you're staying in the middle so as not to get picked off first, smart lol."


David:  "Lol, right?  I'm not stupid."
Aaliyah:  "Okay, but I'm telling your mama" lol.  


Me:  "Well,  I won't be of much help behind you both.  Mark will, though, bad knee and all.  He seems all mild mannered, but he's a bad ass - he was an Army ranger and actually trained in this territory, he's got you - PLUS - he's got bear spray lol. " 

As we're walking along the trail, David stopped for every little sound, and once it was a couple who walked off the trail, clearly trying to spook everybody else.

David:  "Wait, what was that?"    


Me:  "Just some 400-lb white man, in a MAGA hat, sitting over there on a log behind the tree, trying to be funny,  probably hiding out here from January 6th, nobody's caught him yet lol - now THERE is something we should ALL be scared of LOL" 

David:  "Hahaha!  Didn't you say you all are from Kentucky? What do they think of you all there?"   


Me:  "Lol, yes.  Well, he's originally from Detroit, I grew up in Cincy, but my whole family is from Kentucky, and Kentucky now, yep.  Yeah - we're super popular there, as you might imagine *pfft* lol."

(David and Aaliyah laugh). 

Me:  " ... AND we don't care lol.  Wrong is wrong.  We don't go along with wrong, just so people will like us - because it's not just about us, right?" 


David:  "Amen." 

Good to keep him laughing, more at ease in the woods - he eased up, as we went.

Except he did keep looking up at the treetops.

Me:  "Why you keep looking up there, what do you think is going to come from there?  Bears and mountain lions aren't gonna be up in trees that high, I promise. Are you looking for a pterodactyl or what lol?"   


David:  "I don't know, a pterodactyl, a dragon, bigfoot, who knows? lol"  


Me:  "Lol, a dragon.  You know what, you've been watching too much Stranger Things, right?  


Aaliyah confirmed, with a laugh, they'd both just watched the last episodes of Stranger Things.

Me:  "I promise you, there's no demadogs or Veccna in these mountains or woods lol.  Just pretend you're Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett exploring uncharted territory lol.


David:  "Yeah, but Daniel Boone had a Kentucky long rifle."
Me:  "True, but I'm glad we don't, because I know with as skittish as you are here, you would've already shot any number of innocent birds, deer and rabbits out of season, by now, and probably that MAGA idiot, trying to be funny and scare people, too."  


David:  "LOL, that's true, I don't like the noises in here." 


Me:  "But like I say, this trail is too populated for bears or cougars/mountain lions, though.  But FYI, bears usually walk up behind you, but Marks's back there with the bear spray." 
"If you ever do see a black bear, don't run, don't climb a tree - back away slowly and make yourself seem and big and as loud as you can, but again, this trail is too populated. " 
"Grizzly bears - which are only in the west and northwest - if you see one of those, run like hell lol - climb up as high as you can in a tree, they're too heavy to climb." 
"Mountain lions are probably hiding way up in the rocks in the day, they're nocturnal, it's too hot for  them in the day to hunt, they come out at night"  


A little bit further along the trail, we see a bee hive, which I explained was something I was scared of and and needed to keep a safe distance from, considering I'm highly allergic to bees (carrying my EpiPen with me at all times on hikes ;) 

Pretty though, right? 

And a little bit further down the patch, we reach the upper part of the falls ...

And then looking down ...

And a little further down the path is the best view  of the cascade ... 

Which I took video of, because I love the sound of a waterfall, helps me sleep :)

At the very end, you can hear me say, "All right, c'mon, Daniel Boone, let's get a picture of you all" and Aaliyah saying, "Right? lol"

Then they took some pics of us :)

Forgive the lack of makeup, I knew it was going to be a humid day for a hike, so what would be the point lol ...

Aaliyah reminded me, after taking a few pics that I might want one with Biggie, and I said, "OMG, I almost forgot about my baby, how could I forget the baby! lol"  - so we decided to do a pic where it looked like Biggie was creeping up behind us in the woods  ...

After which we hiked back and parted ways, thanking each other for making it a fun hike :)

As a matter of fact, we came up with a new term for a man who behaves like a Karen, because there isn't one, but we all agreed there were plenty around. 

David:  "Let's call them Kens, Kennys" LOL.


Me:  "OMG, YES -  "Kens," like Barbie and Ken, I LOVE that!  Kennys and Karens!  Hahaha!"

On the way back to Boone, we stopped at a little roadside former pioneer camp (recreated), where Biggie wanted to now live? 

Then he stole my hat to look the part! 

Mark, trying to explain to Biggie why we cannot, in fact, live there, as well as why it's not okay to take Mom's hat (while curiously now wearing it himself ;)

On the next day, sadly, it was time to go home, and we decided to take a more scenic back route home, rather than the main highway. 

So we took some pics of some sights along the way, including some roadside oddities, particularly in East Tennessee. 

First was Watauga Lake, which we plan to visit more next summer ... 

Eastern Tennessee is also very beautiful but ... 

But has some interesting roadside stuff, which Mark and I love to stop and enjoy the kitsch ...

Biggie was now super excited  to reconnect with family!

Then we saw this, no lie, in Eastern Tennessee ...

LOL - how many people do you think vote for Jack Daniels in Tennessee based on name and location alone? LOL

I also have to say, as beautiful as East Tennessee is, it scares me with how political they are.  You may remember us passing, in disbelief,  "The Trump Store" in Pigeon Forge, last year.

This year, I give you "MAGA Donuts" in Tazewell, TN ...

Which you will note is three doors down from "Liberty Arms" gun shop, at the strip mall, with a life insurance agency in between (and a pawn shop across the way). 

You know, for all your Capitol-storming needs - bad food, pawning your wedding ring for guns, and life insurance in case anything happens to you? ;)

Eastern Tennessee is very beautiful, but scares me - slightly more than Kentucky and Arkansas, but still a lot less than Texas, I guess lol.

Like our honorary son, B, put it yesterday ...

B: "E TN is lovely, but then you come back into civilization and want to run back into the woods lol."

Me: "Lol, right? It's like, which is scarier -  an East Tennessee Trumper or a black bear? I think it's a toss-up."

B: "Lol, well, one is a big, hairy, brutish beast with no respect for human or animal life, and the other is a bear, so ..."


Me: "Haha! Well, except the unborn, don't forget, but then they don't want to/can't pay to help raise it, either - and  other white Christian Republican males, of course."

We're just joking - sort of - because actually, I feel super sorry for them - very poor people always looking for a savior, right? :(

This explains their almost idol-like worship of Trump :/

Also, I'm probably related to most of them lol. 

Next was passing through the Cumberland Gap - which you can read more about here, but was the passage Daniel Boone used through the Appalachian Mountains, the easiest route past them, found in the tri-state area of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky ... 

From the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park in Middlesboro, Kentucky ...

An authentic civil war cannon, used at the Battle of Chickamauga ... 

And then, pulling Biggie back in the car, kicking and screaming, we finished the trip home. 

Ahh, another memorable Appalachian vacation complete :) 

Hope you enjoyed - video of the trip on the way, after a morning walk! 

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