And so our 2022 family reunion comes to a close. Tomorrow everyone will again scatter. Some we’ll see at Christmas (hence the move to Minnesota); others not until next year’s reunion at our nephew’s wedding in Virginia (looks like we’ll need a Virginia hiking guide πŸ˜‰). So today we wrapped-up with a short, popular hike to an historic location very near to where we were staying in Asheville.

Rattlesnake Lodge was built by a Dr. Ambler between 1903 and 1904 and used by his family every summer until they sold it in 1920. It burned down in 1926. All that remains today are some stone foundations and the concrete rim of the swimming pool.

We hiked to it along the Mountain-to-the-Sea Trail from the tiny parking lot at Bull Gap. A cold front had swept in during the night. So the day broke clear and very cold, then settled on cloudy, cold, and breezy for our walk to the lodge’s ruins.

Leaving Bull Gap for the lodge
Surrounded by Fall color on the Mountain-to-the-Sea Trail
The Blue Ridge was covered with Fall colors
Continuing on…

Old photographs of the lodge and its surrounds give you a sense of how idyllic a summer retreat this must have been back in the day. Certainly better than being cooped-up in town in the days before the wide-spread adoption of air condition. Not to mention dodging summer-fueled diseases. So, despite the rattlesnakes, 🐍 it must have been a great place to be a kid. 😊

Remains of the barn
Detail of dry-laid barn wall
It’s another 0.1 mile (0.2 km) to the site of the lodge
Remains of the swimming pool (center) and the wall (left) still holding up the yard
A giant tree has grown between the yard and the pool
The yard wall
Detail of dry-laid yard wall
The spring house is a little farther along
Tool shed and generator stand
A large tree has fallen over the remains of the spring house
Remains of the spring house
Fall colors
We head back

We’d had the trail to ourselves when we hiked in but that changed on the way back, as we passed, or were passed by, over a dozen other hikers. The tiny parking area at Bull Gap was full, as was every turn-out along the road to the left and right of Bull Gap. Yes, a very popular hike.

As seems customary after a cold, cloudy hike, the clouds parted and warm sunshine burst forth after is was over. 🀨 So we had some nice views as we were driving back to town on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The clouds part as we return to town

It had been a short hike, so we were in time for dimsum at Red Ginger in downtown Asheville. The arrival of colder weather had dampened the tourist crowds a little, so we didn’t have to search for parking or wait long for seating. πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‹ So, until next year in Virginia, that’s the family reunion for 2022! 😁

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