Posted by: SoccerGirl | April 13, 2011

Spring Break Time

A few weeks ago I was on Spring Break from school, so it was the perfect time to head to the mountains for an extra long weekend.  Since my dad had to do a workshop in Hickory, we were able to drive up to the house on Thursday afternoon.  Sadly mom wasn’t able to join us for the trip due to work responsibilities on Friday and a prediction of rain on the weekend.  The drive up didn’t take very long and was quite nice.  Friday morning arrived sunny but an un-spring like chill was definitely in the air.  As usual dad was up early and outside working while I slept in.  Once I had some breakfast and changed in to my work clothes I went out to see what he was up to and get my work assignment for the day.  He was working down by one of the creeks, clearing old dead limbs and trees out and stacking brush in piles.  We had another job to do though, courtesy of my mom and their visit up to the house the previous weekend.  This one related to our orchard.  We haven’t really done much with it since we planted the trees almost 2 years ago, except for keeping the grass cut and checking on the welfare of the trees.  Well, my mom read through the information about caring for the trees from the farm where they bought them and found out we needed to fertilize them by the end of March as well as place a ring of mulch around them to keep the weeds away.  It was now up to dad and I to execute this plan.  We stopped at Lowe’s on our way to the house Thursday to get the mulch and fertilizer and set about taking care of each tree one by one.  Dad removed the protective cages around them and we started by pulling up the grass/weeds that were closest to the trees.  I then measured out the fertilizer according to mom’s directions and the information on the package, sprinkling it around the base of each trees.  Once all of them were fertilized, we added the mulch and replace the cages.  One minor issue did come up when we couldn’t find one of the cages when we were ready to replace them, turns out it had rolled halfway down the hill and I had to go on a search and rescue mission to find it.  Here are some pictures of the orchard before and after our work, I think we did an excellent job:

The orchard before our work (with dad too)

The orchard after, much better!

After a few hours of work it was time for a little relaxation and fun.  The weather was pretty nice, although a bit on the cool side as I mentioned before, so we decided to go for a hike somewhere.  We debated a little about where we should go, since we have been hiking at a few places around the area and decided to try someplace new.  We’re very close to the Blue Ridge Parkway so I thought we should try some trails off of it.  Previously we had driven north on the parkway and visited Doughton Park but I thought we should go south and I found the Cascades Trail that’s part of Jeffress Park.  On our way we saw an overlook that had a really nice view of the surrounding mountains so we decided to stop and take a look as well as some pictures.  Dad was working on some new camera techniques he had learned and I was as usual just taking pictures.  There was also a big hill that we climbed up to get an even better view.  After some more pictures we got back to the car and continued to the Cascades.  There were a few other cars in the parking lot when we pulled in.  We soon found the sign for the trail and started on our way.  The sign said it was about a 30 minute round trip hike.  Along the way there were signs pointing out different trees, although it was a bit hard to tell which was which since they still didn’t have any leaves.  The trail was very easy, there were even steps made of rock along the down slopes, which made it easy to get down.  We came to a small creek and a wooden bridge across it where we paused to take some pictures, not sure if this was our final destination or not, but soon saw the trail continued, so we went on.  Soon we came to more stairs that were a bit steeper and then were at the Cascades!  It was definitely worth the hike as the view of the waterfall was amazing, and got even better as we hiked down a little further to get another view.

Dad practicing his photography skills at the overlook

View looking up the Cascades

View looking down the Cascades

After returning to the parking lot, we weren’t quite ready to call it a day, so we decided to walk to the other end of the parking lot and see what else there was.  We discovered another trail that was only half a mile, so we decided to check that out too.  It was a pretty flat trail and wound through the woods.  Along the way we spotted a few birds, and some unknown animal up ahead that moved too fast for either dad or I to positively identify.  We made it to the end of the trail to find an old building used as a church, and an old settler’s cabin.  After pausing for a few minutes we made the return trip down the trail to the car.

Old cabin at the end of our hike

It was getting close to dinner time, so we headed back down the parkway and into to town.  It wasn’t quite 5:00, and I have a rule against eating before 5 when you are under a certain age.  We killed a little bit of time by visiting a couple of the stores in downtown West Jefferson (before they closed at 5), including Mountain Outfitters and McNeill’s Department Store.

Unfortunately the Ashe County Cheese Store was already closed by the time we got there, so no free cheese curds or cheese samples were to be had.  Since it was Friday during Lent our food choices were a bit limited, so we decided on Mountain Aire Steak and Seafood which we have been to several times before and we knew they would have many choices for us.  After dinner it was back home for some NCAA Basketball Tournament watching.

Saturday morning arrived cold, gray, and cloudy.  Dad was again up early and out working before the rain came in.  I joined him once I woke up and had a little bit to eat.   He suggested we go get some breakfast before continuing our work, and of course I agreed.  We decided to visit a new place, but one we have passed many times on highway 16, Rodie’s Parkway Restaurant.  The parking lot was full and as we stepped inside, we discovered just how small this little place was.  There were 8 tables, all but 2 were occupied, so we found one in the corner and checked out the menu.  They have the standard breakfast fare (as well as lunch & dinner) and the prices were very, very reasonable.  We placed our order and soon the food arrived.  Everything we delicious, especially the bacon, which was cooked to perfection.  We will definitely be making a return trip, especially to try their lunch and dinner!

We returned to the house and finished stacking the wood Dad had cut the day before and cut a little bit more.  He promised we didn’t have to work long and it was true, we only worked a little bit and then it was back to the house.  We were debating what to do the rest of the day when we talked to my mom who said they were calling for possible freezing rain that night into Sunday morning.  Dad checked the forecast again and saw they had issued a Winter Weather Advisory (which was kind of funny to me, since it was technically Spring), so we decided it was best to pack up, clean up and head home.

The upside of this early departure is that we stopped to eat in Yadkinville at Little Richard’s BBQ.  My brother and sister-in-law had stopped there before and said it was really good.  I have to agree, and the portions were huge.  I had enough food for that meal, plus two more the next day!  It was an excellent end to a fun weekend, and I can’t wait for our next visit.

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