With just a few warm days left before the cold sets in I took a drive south into Hickory Nut Gorge, only ten minutes from my house. The road drops several thousand feet along the Broad River, landing in a a tiny unincorporated town called Bat Cave. The town is named after Bat Cave Mountain which in turn was named after the cave in the mountains inhabited by bats.
Bat Cave does have a post office but not much else - a couple of produce stands, gift shops and churches. My favorite place is the Bat Cave Apple House which is only open in fall when apples are the main harvest in this area. It is a ramshackle building hardly holding itself up filled to the brim with apples, cabbages and handmade jellies, jams, honey and some odd souvenirs.
The Apple House sits on the bank of the Broad River and the owners take full advantage of this fact, offering tables to rent by the hour with the rates posted on hand made signs on the trees flanking the picnic area.
This area floods in extreme rains and a chilling sign warns you of that. An old rickety bridge crosses the river behind the Apple House but the gate is locked. Years ago the owners offered tours of the bat cave on the mountain across the river. I found out that they share ownership with the Nature Conservancy now and the Conservancy does offer summer hikes to the cave but leave the bats undisturbed inside, focusing instead on the unique plants found here. I will have to take them up on that next summer!
The Conservancy brochure describes the hike -
After hiking a mile up a steep trail through a mature hardwood forest, you will be rewarded with Bat Cave’s natural air conditioning: a cool moist draft that constantly pours out of vents on the side of the large cave. Bat Cave is the largest known granite fissure cave in North America. The main chamber is a dark cathedral more than 300 feet long and approximately 85 feet high. Fissure caves are formed by rock splits, boulder movements, and other motions of the earth, while most other caves are formed by water dissolving and abrading rock.
I took a walk down stream to get a better view of the river. We have had some heavy rains and you could see the water swirling over the enormous boulders into shallow pools. I scrambled down the bank and got out on the rocks for a better view.
|an you see a cave on the other side?|
Come back for my next post and I will detail the rest of my visit to Bat Cave! I am playing Ruby Tuesday, Rednesday, Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday this week so please stop by my hosts.
To celebrate reaching 150 wonderful followers, I will be giving away a basket of local goodies - a murder mystery book written and autographed by friend and local author Sallie Bissell (see sidebar), home made local jams, goat milk soap, Christmas ornaments and various other hand made items from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. In your post comment, let me know you want to be part of the drawing and also tell me what you like most about my blog. Your suggestions are so helpful. Thanks for visiting and for following! I will draw the winner on November 15. Due to cost of postage I must limit the drawing to US and Canadian residents. Please view the items in my Give-away page.