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Archive for August, 2012

One of Cherokee’s Favorite Attractions is Free

It costs nothing to visit the 200-foot high Mingo Falls. But after you’ve climbed the 161 rough-hewn steps from the parking lot, you may feel that your legs have paid a price for admission. Yet that’s a small price to pay for one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Smokies. At the top of the stairway a short path leads to a bridge at the base of the falls, a safe place to stand and enjoy the view.

Mingo Falls is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation just off Big Cove Road. From the Saunooke Village shopping area in downtown Cherokee, drive north on Big Cove approximately 5 miles (past the KOA Campground) to the Mingo Falls parking lot. It will be on your right, across a bridge next to the Mingo Falls Campground.

On his website, NCWaterfalls.com, photographer Rich Stevenson says the above photo was shot following a heavy rain… a time when all waterfalls are at their very best. It’s a beautiful photo, Rich. Thanks for sharing it with us.

For more about waterfalls in the NC Smokies, visit this page on GreatSmokies.com


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Cherokee’s Unusual ‘Trees’ Generate More Than Just Curiosity

They make no shade, but the large ‘trees’ at Cherokee’s Riverbend Shopping area do provide a break from the summer heat… at least when you enter the town’s air conditioned Visitors Center. The new ‘solar panel trees’ generate all of the electricity used by the facility. It’s part of a tribal energy management project that has initially included retrofitting three buildings — the downtown Visitors Center, the Cherokee Welcome Center, and Boundary Tree restrooms — to make them more energy efficient. All three locations are also being fitted with solar thermal panels that will provide hot water for the facilities and new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

According to Damon Lambert, manager, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Building and Construction, energy efficient retrofitting projects are planned or underway at 24 tribal buildings. Seven of the projects will result in energy cost savings of at least 30% because of new HVAC systems, programmable thermostats, energy efficient lighting and other actions. All two dozen projects will pay for themselves in energy cost savings in just one to seven years.

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This could be the start of something big!

Every Nantahala rafting adventure begins at the put-in area across from the Duke Energy power plant on Wayah Road (above). Rafts are launched, boarded and the riders are given safety instructions before beginning the eight-mile whitewater float through the scenic Nantahala Gorge — “Land of the Noonday Sun” as the Cherokees named it.

Each year, more than 200,000 paddlers raft the Nantahala, the river that National Geographic Adventure and ABC’s Good Morning America’s “Vacationland” series called the number one place to spend a wet and wild vacation in the US.

Trips can be scheduled with a number of Nantahala outfitters. A variety of trips and boat choices are offered and each company adds its own personal touch.

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This ‘Olympic’ Event Has Gone To The Dogs

Zoey, a seven year old ‘dock dog’ leaps more than 20 feet chasing a float toy thrown by owner Stephanie Prock of Canel Fulton, Ohio. Zoey was just one of the dozens of dogs of all breeds competing for trophies at this weekend’s ‘Cherokee Dock Warriors’ canine sporting event. The two day event is produced by Carolina Dock Dogs as part of the 11th annual Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby.

Dockdogs is a fast growing dock jumping and dock diving sport for dogs that’s been featured on ESPN and The Outdoor Channel. The sport is comprised of the three disciplines: ‘Big Air’ (long jump); ‘Extreme Vertical’ (high jump); Speed Retrieve (jump, swim and retrieve); and ‘Iron Dog’, when a dog competes in all three disciplines.

By consistently jumping 22 foot distances Zoey is considered a ‘master’ in the Big Air event.

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