Thursday, December 26, 2013

Two Hours, Two Stills

We left the cabin around 9am and drove to Waynesville to deal with the busted 4Runner.  I was ready to donate the vehicle to NPR and had the online form over half way filled out, when one of the sales managers at Clark Tires said he would call a few friends and see if anyone was interested in buying it for parts.  After about an hour, Steve Woods said he had found a buddy that would pay $800 for it, $400 now, and $400 more after he received the title.  Not to shabby.  He gave me $400 and Laurel and I drove the rental car, a 4WD Kia Shitty, to Maggie Valley.  Our goal was to spend the morning with Ernestine and some of the other locals, hoping they would lead us to an actual still site.  Unfortunately, something unexpected came up and Ernestine couldn't meet with us.

So we decided to drive to the old growth area of Western Pisgah.  The problem was that it was already 1:30pm when we left Maggie Valley.  The road we need was off the Blue Ridge Parkway, which unbeknownst to me was closed for the season.   This too wasted some time.  So we settled for an area near Sunburst.  We drove up Forest Road 97 along the Middle Prong West Fork Pigeon River.  We spent a few hours walking around certain areas (Figure 1 - map coming soon).  We ended up finding one still site (SS-2) (Figure 2) near a historic home (Figure 3) and one possible site (SS-3Q) (Figure 4).  Once we started to lose light we drove down the mountain and headed back to Maggie Valley.  We had a hard time finding a hotel with a vacancy.   Who knew that Maggie Valley was a tourist stop for skiers?  Strange.  Ended up getting the last room at the Ramada.

Figure 1:  Location map (coming soon)

 Figure 2:  A barrel hoop being partially consumed by a tree at SS-2.

 Figure 3:  Stone foundation of a historic homestead near SS-2.

 Figure 4:  A large metal basin from SS-3Q.
This site is highly questionable and is impossible to confirm a still site without further investigation.

Around 6pm I called Johnny Burress, a man that Ernestine said I must get in touch with.  He was very kind and we set up to meet at his house for tomorrow morning.

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