Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Most Aesthetically Appealing Caterpillar Roll Ever

Still down here in North Carolina, last night Ron and I went to Yianni's Greek Restaurant here in Morganton. They have sushi night on Tuesdays, and we had never had their sushi so we checked it out.

Ron got some Yuengling Beer, and I started with a Merlot that was so so, and it turned into a Chianti which was good. For dinner we got a tempura roll, some salmon sashimi, and, this fabulous Caterpillar Roll....tell me this isn't great.

Look at this, dude looks like a little Caterpillar running through the mud complete with antennas...or feelers, whatever you want to call them. The sushi was pretty good, better than I would expect from a place that only does it once a week.
The only downside to this dinner was the for the second time on this trip, Ron and I did not get the appetizer that we ordered....I have had issues with getting lemonade in this state too.....strange. One more day in NC, then I'm out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

South Mountain Park North Carolina

Ron Slocum and I are down in North Carolina right now helping a customer set up their system. Today was a little slow, not a lot of product from testing, the customer was having some issues. I think this equation written on their white board explains it all.

So the project manager from the customer suggested we go do some sight seeing. The first place he mentioned was South Mountain Park. He was talking about a great hike up there, that peaked my interested, but when he said there is an 80 foot waterfall in the middle of the hike, didn’t take me long to make the decision to go.
So when Ron and I got out that day, around 5 PM, we went to the hotel and changed, picked up some Gatorade and headed south of Morganton down Old NC 18. It was about a 15 mile trip, but Google said it was about 40 minutes, which seemed strange, until we got on Old NC 18. It was a winding road through the forest, kinda cool. Then we got to the entrance, which had a sign that said gate closes at 8 PM. It was about 6:15, so we figured no problem, it’s about a mile hike, we will be out well before then.
This is our hike, the High Shoals Falls, by the way, I left may camera at home, not expecting to be out hiking this week, so these were all taken on my Storm phone…not bad.

And the map we picked up at the Kiosk which came in quite handy

The hike started on a pretty clear trail that runs along the Shinny Creek that takes us to the Shoals Falls Loop. There are a few lookout points along the way as well as information on the local wildlife and plant life. This was a really nice easy hike to start, lots of great places to see the river.

This is the entrance to the Shoals Falls loop, we went left

Little bit trickier hike from here, they still have stairs and bridges along the way, but we are starting out ascent.

This is the point where we abandoned the trail and made our own way. This is the kind of hiking I like, no trails, just up and over a lot of large rocks around a river.

This is a beautiful hike with lots of little falls along the way, and plenty of large rocks to navigate you way up the creek.

At first glance this looked to me like a large animal emerging from the water….

This is the first set of large falls we came up to, perfect for water access. By now we are back on the path, and had to jump the fence to get to this.

And here is me falling for the first time today, and it’s hard to catch yourself with a camera phone in your hand. There were a lot of slippery rocks out here, and between the backpack, the phone, and my knee....I wasn't feeling to sure footed today.

I have a lot of pictures of Ron checking his email on this hike

This is taken right after the second time I fell

Now the hike up to the payoff

A little manual labor on the way

And more hiking

And here is the payoff, the 80 foot drop of the Shoals Falls

It was just too tempting, I had to take my shoes off, climb in there and feel the water

And Ron followed

Here is a video of the falls

Here is a video of me in the falls

Had we thought this out beforehand, we may have brought a change of clothes, or a towel at least.

Yet another “hike” up a series of steep steps

To the top of the falls

One hiker down

Now to the edge for the view from the top

What a great hike this was

It was at this point that Ron and I realized it was 7:35, and we had a long hike back to the car, then a bit of a drive to make it out of the Park before 8, so we finished the loop and headed back. When we arrived, it was dark out, and the ranger was sitting at our car waiting for us……no Picnic Baskets. We made it out of the gate just after 8 PM. Great little hike.