Wiggy and I spent today and yesterday "blind exploring" as I like to call it. We got up, I packed a backpack and we headed out with no particular destination in mind. Our results vary when we do this, but it is never boring! And we got lucky as these two days were both exceptional!
There is a bridge just down the road from the campground. The first day we went left at the bridge and, duh, the second day we went right. And just around the first bend in the road we see "Public access to Tuckasegee River"! There's a cute little park with trees and a few picnic tables and it is set back far enough from the road that I am comfortable unhooking Wiz's leash. She is off like a shot for the water and immediately starts barking at the current. I put on my water shoes and waded in too. Brrrr!! It was cold but refreshing. After an hour or so, we continued on, staying parallel to the river. The path took us down an unpaved, shady road and that is when we found the Ela dam. I did not even know there was a dam! We spent the rest of the day there, wandering trails in the surrounding woods and jumping (Wiggy) into the river when we got too warm.
The next day, I wanted to see something other than the Tuckasegee. It was a bit of a walk before we could find a turn off road that was not marked "private", but we eventually did. So we turned and hiked up the hill. And up, and up, and up. It was strenuous, but beautiful, with loads of birds and flowers and a really great waterfall. Finally, at the top, was Trout Lake. There was also a little gift shop that was closed and a small booth selling bait and accessories that was open. The girl working the booth fell in love Wiggy, of course, and it was absolutely reciprocated. We chatted for a while while she doted on Wigz, and then went off to look around, take some pictures and otherwise enjoy the afternoon.
I love finding these little, lesser known, area treasures!