The days and weeks seem to last forever after the holidays, so I find it easy to get a case of cabin fever when you are a gypsy at heart. So Chip and I decided that we love camping, and we see campers on the road all the time, so why is it that we winterize ours when the weather begins to get cold in the late fall and we don’t open it back up until sometime in April. Well, not this year! We decided we were going to try to camp at least 40 nights in our truck camper this year and getting started now was exactly what we needed to cure our cabin fever. We did not even care what the weather might be when we took the time off. If we could get out of the driveway, we were going somewhere camping. Luckily for us, the weather has been very mild and the forecast for the weekend was highs in the 50’s and a low around 32. That is perfect weather for camping. Our goal was to hike during the day and sit by the fire at night, so great temperatures for both. It was calling for rain on Friday through Saturday morning, but that wasn’t going to stop us.
All campgrounds are not open in the winter, so we had to decide on a destination. Initially, we were going to set our camping trip around visiting some friends but then they had plans that could not be changed the weekend we had off, so we were more open on our areas to camp. Through researching NC State Campgrounds, we found one open that I had actually seen a program about a while back on a Saturday morning, it is called Morrow Mountain. They are open year-round and have a lot of hiking options. We had wanted to check out Uwharrie National Forest as they have OHV riding (off-highway vehicle) don’t worry we didn’t know what it meant either and had to google it. We have a side-by-side and thought it would be fun to find somewhere to take it locally. We hopefully are going with some friends this spring to West Virginia where they take their side-by-sides riding and camping.
We set out on Friday all packed and ready for our weekend. It rained off and on during the two-hour ride. We stopped by the campground office upon our arrival and were told which sites had already been reserved. I thought this was very helpful, so we could make sure we didn’t choose one that someone else would be coming to on Saturday and we would have had to move to a different site. Not that it mattered too much since we did not intend to take the camper off the truck. It was easy to find an available campsite as most of the campsites were very level and surrounded by trees. There were quite a few campers already set up, so we found one as far away from everyone else as possible. We went back to the main office to pay and visit the museum.
The museum exhibits include Native Americans, area plant and animal communities, early explorers, and rocks and minerals. It is self-guided which was nice because we took our time reading, watching videos and observing the artifacts.
We then saw a sign for the Kron House and drove up the road to see what it was. It was not raining at the moment, so we decided to explore. The Kron House is actually a reconstruction of the original home built for Dr. Francis Kron in1839. He and his family lived there until his death in 1883. He was well known not only as of the area doctor but as a pharmacist making his own medications and a gardener. He was well-known in the area as a horticulturist and had a beautiful wooden greenhouse where he grew a variety of plants. Literally, as we started down the steps to leave the rain started and we made a run for the truck.
It is an old state park but well maintained. The way I know it is old is because we saw these in several places around the park. But really, the park was opened to the public in the summer of 1939.
Chip and I are easily entertained so sitting in the camper on a rainy evening is enjoyable for us. The phone reception was really good at the campground, and the tv reception was equally as good, so we could have played on our phones or watched tv, but we decided to work a jigsaw puzzle. It was very relaxing as we could listen to the rain on the roof as we both worked on the outside pieces first and then the tough part, the inside. Chip is a master at jigsaw puzzles and finds twenty pieces to my one, but that’s okay, we have fun spending time together.
Here is a short video of the rain on the roof, and it is short because that was as long as Chip could be quiet so I could tape it.
Ongoing rain most of the night was very relaxing and made for great sleeping.
Saturday morning brought clear skies and the promise of a beautiful day. We started the day with a wonderful breakfast cooked by Chip of course. The table cloth is a towel covering the puzzle as we did not finish it last night and had nowhere to eat breakfast, so we just covered it up and ate on top of it.
Our first trail walk was the Quarry Trail. It was a little over a half a mile and was an easy walk. It went down into an area where in the early 20th century it was mined for rocks. The buildings show the actual rocks mined from the quarry.
So I love to walk and could walk a zillion miles, as long as I am outside. I hate to walk on a treadmill. The pictures of the trail are gorgeous, but here is an example of our music provided by nature.
The next hike was the Hattway Mountain Trail which was about 2 miles long and was a bit more strenuous. It was a loop and we choose to go the right of the trail, which had a lot of switchbacks making the climb not as difficult. Chip made the comment about the number of switches, and I laughed to myself as I thought these were definitely switches where the more the better, unlike switches growing up that my Deddie used on my brothers and me. Them more than me because I was so sweet, I didn’t need a switch as much as they did. The hike back down was a bit harder as it was often straight down which is much harder on the hips and knees. Overall it was a really nice hike, and I would definitely do it again.
We then decided to drive over to Uwharrie and look at the OHV area as well as the trails, campgrounds, and boondocking opportunities in that area. Though we did not see the OHV area as the one, we drove to was closed, we did find a campground we really liked and several boondocking areas that were spectacular. If we had not left our chairs at our campsite at Morrow Mountain, we would have had set-up camp at one of the boondocking areas we found. We definitely will go back there at some point and camp one weekend when we have another bout of cabin fever.
Reluctantly we headed back towards the campground as we wanted to get back before dark. We stopped at a neat store, Moonset, not far from the campground, and purchased some marshmallows anticipating Chip was going to build a fire. You cannot have a campfire without marshmallows. Moonset had everything you might need while camping, including natural bug repellants, food, and many other items. They had handcrafted items, local honey, and hand-scooped ice cream. Chip was most excited about the diet Cheerwine they had. You would have thought he was a kid tasting a soft drink for the first time. I was excited about my marshmallows of course but I also purchased a teeny, tiny bear-shaped jar of local honey.
Chip cooked dinner on the grill and built a nice fire. Dinner consisted of tuna he caught last fall on a trip to the outer banks, cilantro-lime rice, and a salad. I ate a light dinner as I had to save room for my marshmallow or two. Chip thinks he is the world’s best marshmallow roaster, and he doesn’t even like marshmallows, but tonight I think mine turned out just as good as his. After eating too many marshmallows, as we enjoyed the nice evening outside, it was time to retire for the evening. We finished the puzzle, watched a little television and called it a night.
Sunday morning, we actually slept in a little later than usual, had another wonderful breakfast and decided to walk the rest of the campground before we left for the day. We camped in Loop C as that is the only loop open in the winter. It is also the only loop that has power on some of the sites. Both loop A and B were really nice and definitely had some sites we would love to camp on the next trip to the mountain if they are open.
Before we left the park, we rode down to the lake and walked the Three Rivers Trail. It was a little over a half a mile long and went through a marsh area, up a small mountain and back down through the marsh area, by the lake and back to the parking lot. There was a blue heron that I wanted to take a picture of so Chip humored me and walked back to the truck with me to get my camera and then back to where we saw the blue heron drying its wings. The entire way back across the marsh he was telling me it would probably be gone by the time we got back, and I kept telling him to quit talking or he was going to scare it off. This went on all the way back as he would talk, I would remind him to shhhh and he would stop for a half a second and start back up. Luckily the blue heron was still on the edge of the lake, and I was able to get a few pictures.
We may not go back to Morrow Mountain until next Winter, but we definitely will go back again and walk some of the many other trails throughout the park. If you are looking for a neat place to go in North Carolina, I encourage you to let this be one of your stops. In the summer months, they have a huge swimming pool, as well as kayak rentals at the lake. There is something at this park for everyone.
By the way, we did finish our puzzle and here is the final picture.