Discovering Our Hometown: Cataloochee Valley (Picture Heavy!)

For visitors wanting to see a glimpse of true mountain living Cataloochee Valley allows you to take a step back in time.  The preserved and seemingly untouched area bristles with streams and rivers, surrounded by mountains it is also speckled with 19th and early 20th century churches, schools and houses left from a community of mountain dwellers years ago.  
According to the website:
Cataloochee Valley is nestled among some of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States. Surrounded by 6000-foot peaks, this isolated valley was one of the largest and most prosperous settlements in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some 1,200 people lived in this lovely mountain valley in 1910. Most made their living by farming, including commercial apple growing, but an early tourism industry developed in Cataloochee with some families boarding fishermen and other tourists who wished to vacation in the mountains.”
This area is also known for spotting various kinds of wildlife including elk, turkeys and sometimes darling little bear cubs!  (Yes I realize they are not so darling when they decide to have you for dinner)

We have actually seen all of the above during the now two times I have been there.

Husband and his Dad like to fish the rivers with their fly rods while my MIL and I snap action photos, walk the trails, or sit and read to the glorious music of the rushing streams nearby.  

This spider was hidden in some debris on this limb.  I almost crashed right through his web but luckily had stopped to talk to Husband for a moment and when I looked around I realized he had his web in place and was on the hunt.  That little leg stuck out is tugging on a strand of his web moving a leaf he has placed so cleverly to attract his prey.
You can see his line to the left 
Husband’s first catch of the day…

Wild Speckled Trout 
Underground Yellow Jacket Nest

Obligatory posed picture

Ever the Eagle Scout Husband has been adamant about me identifying poison ivy on the blog so you can be on the lookout.  Poison ivy is signified by having three leaves that alternate along the stem and has white waxy berries along the stem.

Poison Ivy

When the guys are ready for a break we generally take a picnic and eat by the old Palmer Church.

They still have reunions here and according to a participant this entire field is filled with people and food.

This house actually belonged to a friend of our’s Great, Great (not sure how many Greats) Grandfather.

The size of this house along with a few details such as the detailed moulding over the doors, this archway below and the colored paint indicate that this family was decently well off for their time.

Not so sure about that foundation!

The Spring House

People used spring houses like a refrigerator.  They would lower their food items into the spring water to keep it cool year round.

The valley is located about 45 minutes from Asheville and is a part of the Great Smokey Mountains National Forest.  I overheard a tour guide yesterday saying that it is the most visited park system in the United States, even above Yellowstone and Yosemite.  He also said that it is the most geologically diverse.  Well worth a visit!

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