Hiking around Sapphire, NC (Part 1)


Bill continues to serve as our Travel Adventure Director. He never disappoints. I am always amazed at the places he finds for us. So for this quick one week trip as close to home as possible with challenging hikes, we traveled to Sapphire, NC. He said he picked this area because of all the water falls.

First, a bit about our accommodations at Fairway Forest Resort. We are members of RCI (Resorts Condominiums International). We needed a better way to travel after giving up Recreational Vehicles. We actually stumbled upon this travel idea. It is too complicated to explain, let’s just say it is working for us. This week was our ninth week since joining a year ago. The condos are fully furnished with fully equipped kitchens. We have not been disappointed in any of our accommodations. This one ranked up as one of the best – but then I seem to say that after every week. Maybe our expectations are lowered, or maybe they are higher, no matter, our expectations each trip so far have been exceeded.

Our two story condo was on a golf course, next to a National Forest with a babbling brook running nearby. The sound was so soothing! The outside appearance was really not all that lovely, but inside, it was perfect. We had a two bedroom, two bath. Full kitchen, dining table, living area with a fireplace, sliding doors from both of these areas are technically on the second floor and went out to a large balcony and overlooked a hidden golf course. Stairs are my nemesis but these were carpeted, not steep and easy on my knees. The stairs went downstairs to the master bedroom ensuite. HUGE jetted bathtub with a separate shower. Full washer and dryer with plenty of closets and drawers to unpack. We also had a sliding glass door to an outside patio. I have lots of photos but really, they do not do it justice.

The best part of this condo was being on the end unit!
The best part of this condo was being on the end unit!

We went on five fabulous hikes, plus visited with friends who have a cabin in the area. Little did we know we were staying so close to them so it was bonus to spend an evening with them.

September 11, 2022 Glen Falls Trail

My review on All Trails, which I rated four out of five stars: We like to hike to falls wherever we can. We’re in this area for a week because of all the Falls. This hike had the most robust and gorgeous falls! The trail was challenging so it was well worth the length and rewards. We had poles – and needed them for balance around some mud, all the roots and rocks. These are natural in a forest! The trail was well traveled but no signs after the first one. Fortunately someone familiar with it helped us at one junction-not marked. Conditions: Muddy, Rocky, Great!

Sadly, I had a hard time getting the All Trails App to record the hike. But I used my Apple Watch which said it was about three miles. We had a picnic at the bottom of the trail. It was a three and back.

A slide show of a few pictures:

September 12, 2022 Nantahala Whitewater Falls & Foothills Trail

My review from All Trails, which earned five stars out of five! Fabulous! We started at the Whitewater Falls, then hopped on the foothills trail to Grassy Knob. Great views. Two areas with benches as we climbed Grassy Knob. Trail was excellent, just one area needs maintenance from fallen trees. We need to carry a saw!

Stats: Length, 4.81 miles (Actual was 5 miles); Elevation gain 702 ft; Moving time 3:02:08

And we thought Glenn Falls was fabulous. This is THE WATERFALL that makes this area famous for waterfalls! From the Forest Service website:

“Whitewater Falls owes its existence to the Blue Ridge Escarpment, a sharp drop in elevation between the mountains and the Piedmont.

“With a 411-foot plunge, Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. South Carolina’s Lower Whitewater Falls falls another 400 feet.

“Because of the escarpment’s difficult access and rugged terrain, much of the area receives few visitors and has remained wild and undeveloped over the years.”

A slide show with captions of a few pictures:

In a recent Bible study, we looked at Psalms 90. I thought of our wonderful time in these beautiful mountains and the prayer of Moses:

“A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Psalms 90:2

We still have three more days of hiking to share. So stay tuned. We liked this area so much, we are returning in the Spring!

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