Woke up this morning seeing flood alerts, warnings, destruction, imminent death. It was all over the news. If all you did was listen to the weather oracles you'd be all but certain Western North Carolina was going to be washed completely off the map. Cold, rain, wind....hell, we had research to do. Laurel and I layered up, covered ourselves in rain jackets, and became the US Mailhumans of historic moonshine still recovery.
We spent most of the morning altering our plan to avoid major streams and not get too far out in the forest. We left around 11am in an attempt to locate 31BN727, a previously recorded still site in Buncomb County (Figure 1). The site report indicated the area was most likely disturbed due to logging. It took us much longer than expected to find the site. This was due to heavy rain, a locked gate that forced us to walk an extra mile, and the UTM coordinates were approximately 150 meters off.
Figure 1: Site drawing of 31BN727 by Ashcraft and Snedeker (8/28/2002).
Much of the site is either gone or buried beneath the enormous quantity of leaf litter. The only still remnants we observed were a 55 gallon drum (Figure 2), a drum lid, and the possible stones used for the still furnace (Figure 3).
Figure 2: 55 gallon drum used in whiskey production.
Figure 3: Possible remnants of the stone furnace.
It was a cold and wet day, but we did manage to find a still! Success! (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Yeehaw!
Returned to the Super 8 around 5pm.