"There is no public parking on the mountain." Even folks that arrived early had to take the shuttle from the foot of the mountain... five more dollars per head! The only way to park on Grandfather Mountain was to reserve a camp site months in advance, and camp with thousands of lads and lasses at the world's largest Highland Games. Since we wanted to sleep at night, we looked for a nearby hang.
Edgemont Road is a wide, gravel road that starts on Hwy 221 only one mile from the games. We scouted a great place to hang one mile further down Edgemont road, just past the source of Andrew Creek. Edgemont Road roughly follows Wilson Creek, from near it's source on Grandfather Mountain, all the way down through the Wilson Creek Wild & Scenic River area and through the 2.2 mile long Wilson Creek Gorge.
When we left the games on Sunday, we found our way through the Pisgah National Forest below Grandfather Mountain, past some ancient Indian rock paintings, to Gragg, NC, where we discovered directions posted at the intersection with the road to Globe, NC. A motorcyclist stopped and admitted that he was hopelessly lost, so the directions were a Godsend.
We went on down the Wild & Scenic River to the town of Mortimer, population 2, and met the proprietor of the cabins at Betsey's Ole Country Store & Trout Pond. We drove through the most popular swimming hole in NC, the Wilson River Gorge, and ended up at Smyrna Baptist Church on 181, near the road to Table Rock Mountain in Linville Gorge.
Here are a handful of pictures, and a video. The pipe and drum band with the dark blue shirts are the Jamestown Pipe and Drum Band, from our hometown. They will soon be teaching Thing1 to play the pipes! At the end of the video is a taste of the "bare knuckles pipe and drum band" Albannach.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 2010