Our 15 yr. old grandson, Nate, came to visit from Iowa. It has been too hot to do much outside, so we took off for the mountains in NC and spent a few days at Mile High Campground between Cherokee and Maggie Valley, NC. Temps were mid-50’s at night and no higher than 70* during the day. It was heaven! We took the pop-up camper because my husband, Gene, is not a hammock camper (but I’m working on it). We stopped at Appalachian Amusement Center outside of Waynesville before we went to campground and Nate and I went bodyflying. That was really awesome. I can just imagine what Shug could do with this! (http://www.youtube.com/claacblueflyer) (www.verticalwind.com).
When we got to the campground, we almost didn’t get a site because there was a Dutch Oven Gathering going on and almost all the sites were reserved for that event. Gene and Nate wandered over to see what was happening at their cook off and ended up eating there. Offerings included boar, bear and oxtail, lots of different cobblers and all kinds of other good stuff. Both of them said the bear was pretty good, but they didn’t bring me a recipe. That evening Nate wanted to sleep in my hammock so I showed him how to use the pad and a sleeping bag as a quilt in the bottom entry Hennessey, which has a learning curve. Being 15, he was sure he knew all about it and was too smart to need to learn anything. He turned in early because he was excited to sleep in the hammock, or maybe to just to get away from us old people. He got all settled in, then about ten minutes later we hear muttering and mumbling and see his feet come back out. He said he just moved a little and the pad and cover got all screwed up! He hated the pad and wanted to fling it out, but I told him he had to use it or he would freeze his butt and shoulders off by morning. He will definitely be an underquilt guy. With some more tips he got things straightened out and in the morning said he stayed warm and had a great night sleep.
After eating that night, we got Nate out of the hammock AGAIN and went to see if we could find some elk. They usually gather at the entrance to the campground or wander around close to the road in the evening. We didn’t see any in their usual places and stopped to talk to the camp manager about other possible locations. He said that many mornings a bull elk will come up right by his camp and if he doesn’t, then he usually will show up down at the end of the road where we were camping. He asked who was sleeping in the hammock that he had seen that morning and Gene told him it was our grandson. The manager said that the bull would sometimes nudge things he wasn’t sure about or hadn’t seen before. Nate decided that as nice as it was, he wasn’t going to sleep in the hammock that night. I did and did NOT get nudged by an elk. I did notice an Eno on another site, so maybe they got nudged instead. We did see three cow elk when tubing that afternoon, but nobody had a camera.
I like this campground much better than Balsam Mountain Campground, which is about 6 miles down the road. It is a primitive car campground but they have hot showers, bathrooms, and the sites have privacy. I think site 2, 10A (our site), 10B and 23 would be good for hammocks. There are probably others, but I didn’t check each one. The campground is kind of hard to find and they don’t take credit cards. http://www.campmilehigh.com/Milehigh.com/Index.html