Trains and Waterfalls

Waterfall on West Fork of the Pigeon River

Waterfall on West Fork of the Pigeon River

It was pretty cold yesterday morning, but by noon the temperature was up in the forties and the sun was shining so it was impossible to stay indoors. We hopped in the truck and took NC 215 north. This is a great twisty, scenic road that follows two rivers as it winds its way through the Southern Smokies. Once we got up to about 3,500 feet, some of the north-facing cliffs along the side of the road were sporting icicles.

Icicles along NC 215 north of the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance

Icicles along NC 215 north of the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance

There’s a spot where NC 215 crosses the West Fork of the Pigeon River that you can climb down onto the rock riverbed. The riverbed is riddled with craters that have been worn into the rock when the water is high from heavy rains and the spring runoff.

West Fork of the Pigeon River in Western North Carolina

West Fork of the Pigeon River in Western North Carolina

More icicles

More icicles

Looking at all these icicles made a cup of coffee sound good so we headed west to Bryson City, home of my all-time favorite coffee shop.

Mountain Perks, Bryson City

Mountain Perks, Bryson City

It’s located right across the tracks from the Bryson City Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Station…

Bryson City GSMR Depot

Bryson City GSMR Depot

As we were enjoying our Black Widows, the train pulled in, at the end of its morning excursion run.

GSMR Excursion Train pulled by two EMD GP9 locomotives.

GSMR Excursion Train pulled by two EMD GP9 locomotives.

The two units were uncoupled and a third GP9, dressed out in its “Polar Express” colors and tinsel garlands, was attached for the day’s special evening excursion which features Santa Claus, a reading of the story and a gift for each child.

Uncoupling two EMD GP9s

Uncoupling two EMD GP9s

One of GSMR's EMD GP9s in its Polar Express costume

One of GSMR’s EMD GP9s in its Polar Express costume

GSMR also has a gorgeous BLW 2-8-0 steam locomotive but we didn’t get to see it yesterday.

And, we ended the day with dinner at an old service station in Franklin that’s been remodeled into a ’50s diner…

Motor Company Grill in Franklin, NC

Motor Company Grill in Franklin, NC

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Trains and Waterfalls

  1. What an enjoyable post full packed with gorgeous photos. I loved especially Your icicle photos. It is very seldom when I see them here in Finland. Train photos were interesting to see the difference between those there and here. Waterfalls – I would love to sit beside them and listen to the sound of water.

    Happy New Year 2014!

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  2. wotta day! having just having driven thru’ N C once, i can’t really say i’ve been there nor know the area … a former friend (lost (well, he severed) contact with) lived in the asheville area and was a somewhat reknowned artist/painter — as was a cousin of mine! are you fa(r)miliar with “that scene”? and like sartenada said: that last icicle photo was neatly weird!

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    • Ann

      I sort of hover around the edges of “that scene.” Some friends run a gallery/shop in Brevard (30 miles SW of Asheville) where I occasionally sell my stuff, but Asheville is the only place in Western NC that you’d call a “city” so most of the local handcrafters, artists and musicians kind of gravitate in that direction. It’s a small oasis in the bible belt.

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  3. I love a great field trip! Thanks for sharing.

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