We made it up to Virginia, but awfully late because we had lingered so long in Asheville. Nothing terrible happened on this drive except for the usual sibling squabbles and listening to Nightcore.
It was almost dark when we got there, but we tossed up the Green Goblin (one of the other campers even helped with the rain fly, which is the most goblinish part of it), and luckily i had snagged on-sale organic hot dogs at the Asheville Whole Foods before we left, so dinner was very, very quick and very popular. I had forgotten ketchup, but we had kraut and fresh salsa to eat them with. Salsa hot dogs are actually really good.
It wasn’t until the next day we got to explore the park. There are beautiful hiking trails that wind up the mountain through mossy, oaky woods.
Along the way you pass old mine shafts from mining iron that breathe out cool air. Clo had a slight stomachache, and was even more slow than usual with the walk, which drove Rose into a glaring, eye-rolling, muttering-just-audible-nasty-things teenager rage for a while, but she succumbed to the beauty of the surroundings after a bit, and we discovered the most amazing mushrooms.
I know i totally acted like my dad here and freaked out about how cool all the fungus was by taking a ridiculous amount of photos, but i couldn’t help myself.
There were quite a lot of chanterelles, some huge oyster mushrooms, and a bunch of (i think) the red capped russellas.
There was a sky-blue mushroom along the path that was incredibly beautiful. I’ve never seen a mushroom that color.
Some tiny little fairy mushrooms in several colors were sprouting at the roots of trees.
Even the brown mushrooms were striking.
We drove a little ways down from the hiking trails to the fairy stone hunting spot. You are allowed to collect a few to keep here. The park gave us a brochure on the legend of the fairy stones. They are a special kind of crystal, found only in a few places in the world. They come in several shapes, sometimes the shape of a cross, and are said to protect you from illness, accidents, and the spells of witches.
It was a bit combed-over, but we were determined to find some to help us along the trip. They are commonly found at the roots of trees, and we found a lot more great mushrooms while hunting. We even found midnight blue mushrooms poking out of the leaf litter! (They look purple in the photo)
Finally i saw a stone with a crystalline shape. It had a different feel to it than the other little pebbles. It wasn’t in a cross shape, so i wasn’t sure. Clo held it in her hand, and declared, “It must be one, because my stomachache just went away!”
We found a few more, and before we left I stopped at the gas station just next to the hunting spot. They had stones for sale, that looked exactly like the ones we found, so we did find them after all!
So hopefully with luck on our side, and rain beginning to fall, we headed off to the next adventure.