My wife is amazing when it comes to preparing for and implementing our campsites. She transforms a simple camping trip into an actual working home-away-from-home. When we park our Casita trailer it indeed becomes exactly the literal translation of that Spanish word: our little house.
Here, then, is a photo essay of our campsite and environs during our recent vacation at Rock Creek Recreation Area, not far from Erwin, Tennessee:
This is our campsite in Loop C at the Rock Creek Recreation Area. We felt that this was the best campsite in the entire campground, and we were lucky not only to get this one, but any site there. The place is extremely popular with the locals and they flock there all during the week to set up camp. We spoke to campers who lived as close as two miles away! They prefer to spend their spare time here in this fantastic campground than at home. I can't say I can blame them.
I walked up the slope a bit and took this photo looking down on our campsite. This is now one of our favorite campgrounds. Each site is spacious and you're surrounded by forests with plenty of privacy between sites. This campground has electric hookups but not water. We had to fill our onboard water tank. But there are water spigots throughout the campground. For several days there was a trailer across from us and one campsite down where a married couple and a relative played live bluegrass every evening. Everyone else in the campground would grow quiet and listen as we were serenaded with bluegrass music by this trio--two guitars and a mandolin.
One nice touch about Rock Creek are these cool shelters. You can use them for so much. We decided to use ours to set up our Coleman stove and to keep our charcoal dry and store kindling for the firewood. We don't do any cooking in our trailer because we don't want to fill our little trailer with cooking smells. So this was perfect for us. We normally put the stove on a picnic table, but this freed up that space for other things.
Carole even was able to do a lot of cooking right on the fire instead of using the outside stove. Here she was frying bacon for BLTs.
We have some colorful lights that we string on the awning. At night it looks neat and inviting and friendly.
This was the "cement pond" in the campground. Built by the CCC back during the FDR administration. At one time this pool was twelve feet deep, but now it has been altered so that it's only six feet deep. There was even once a diving board here. The locals come here in droves to swim and picnic.
This is the creek that flows into the pool. The CCC boys created the little artificial waterfall. After 70 years, our parks and recreation areas are still utilizing the efforts of that socialist program that employed our out-of-work engineers and laborers. Too bad we don't have it at work today.
The forest behind our campsite. I don't think this forest has been logged for about 80 to 100 years. Therefor the trees are well on their way to impressive maturity. Unfortunately, about every third tree is a hemlock and these were all intensely infested with hemlock wooly adelgid and will soon be dead. What's especially depressing is that many of these groves could still be saved if treated with Safari brand adelgicide. If only it were done...
I include this because it was a mere two+ miles away by foot. The Upper Rock Creek Falls inside the Unaka Mountain Wilderness. I just hiked away from the campsite up the trail and in no time I was at this amazing spot.
Sad photo of our campsite emptied out and our stuff all loaded up. This place is so popular that this site was nabbed before we could even pull out!
The sign and National Forest land at the turnoff to Rock Creek Recreation Area. The forest down here where I took the photo is at least 50% hemlock. It's going to be a sad sight indeed in a few years.