For our last day of exploring we headed south. On our way to Hendersonville we made a side trip to Pisgah Forest Gem Mine just outside of the Pisgah National Forest. This was your typical tourist gem mining experience, but we had fun finding and identifying gems and fossils all the same.
Afterwards, we were headed to The Cradle of Forestry (more on that in a minute) when we began to travel through one of the most picturesque National Forests we have been in. Two days earlier we had entered Pisgah NF while on the Blue Ridge Parkway and ran across a mountain top lodge and campground along with lots of hiking trails. Now we found ourselves in the valley following Looking Glass Creek.
Along this creek we found some great pull offs where you could wade in the creek- or watch the trout fishermen work their way upstream.
We also stopped at Looking Glass Falls for a quick photo op.
Of notable mention is the Sliding Rock Recreational Area where, for a fee, you can slide down waterfalls of gently sloped rock.
The Cradle of Forestry in America was a fantastic, interactive museum that explains how the science of forestry began in the United States. George Vanderbilt (as in the Vanderbilt who created nearby Biltmore) hired Carl A. Schenck to start a school to teach people how to conserve forests while producing lumber at the same time. The Biltmore Forest School was the first to teach “practical forestry” and this process continues today in support of the U.S. Forest Service.
We were having such a great time in the forest, we never made it to Hendersonville…