Thursday, April 15, 2010


My campsite at the Mortimer Campground in the Wilson Creek section of the Pisgah National Forest.

Not quite a year ago I was having trouble putting the finishing touches on a novel. The book was giving me fits. I'd been working on this particular story for many years, but had finally buckled down to turn it into a novel some months before. But the last third of the book was tying me in knots. So I took a few days off from work, hooked the Casita to my truck, and headed up to the Mortimer Campground in the Pisgah National Forest for several days of relaxation, quiet, and inspiration from the wilderness.

It worked. I wrote like a demon for most of the time I was there (when I wasn't hiking). I didn't quite finish the book while I was in the woods, but I put a wonderful amount of work into it and was able to complete the novel within a week or so after returning. The trip really recharged my imagination and made me feel a lot better, despite having fallen and hurt myself and losing my camera on a waterfall!

At any rate, here were some of the sights that inspired me in early June of 2009:

On Darkside Cliffs. (Yeah, that's really the name.)

View from Darkside Cliffs. That's Grandfather Mountain in the middle on the horizon.

Mountain laurel. Arguably the prettiest wild flower in the southern Appalachians.

After almost three solid years of drought, Wilson Creek was up and full again, allowing kayakers to brave the reborn whitewater. I like this photo a lot, but most people don't seem to care for it. Not sure why. I think I did a good job on this one.

Myownself on Little Lost Cove Cliffs.

I think this is some type of violet.

A box tortoise I happened upon while I was hiking up to the cliffs.

Just a log spanning a creek with little cascade underneath.

Rock and moss and life-giving water.

The forest on the hike in to Darkside Cliffs.

Nice waterfall on Thorpe Creek just as I was getting ready to head back to civilization. (I didn't want to go back, except to get Carole and bring her to see this place, which we did about two weeks later, returning for another camp out with the Casita.)


Jack said...

Actually, I believe the flower is a Spiderwort.

I am thinking about heading up to Mortimer next weekend.

HemlockMan said...

Thanks, Jack!

Mortimer's a great campground in a really good area. Still a lot of trails in there that I need to hike.

I'll be in Florida, so I can't go right now, unfortunately.

Kirk Eddlemon said...


I am currently writing a whitewater guide for the SE and like the picture you took of paddlers on Wilson Creek. Would you be interested in contributing a shot to the book? All contributors get a copy and attribution.

Let me know if you might be interested.

Kirk Eddlemon

James Robert Smith said...

Sure, Kirk. Everyone loves that photo of the kayaker. Just let me know where I can send you a jpeg file.

Email me a jamesrobertsmith at

James Robert Smith said...

Hey, Kirk. I may have accidentally deleted your email response. Try again.