Monday, November 04, 2013

Panther Top Fire Station

scenic overlook at Carters Lake,  Ellijay, Georgia

Rivers Edge  Rv Park, Blairsville, Georgia (high 59, low 35)

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day with temps only in the upper 50’s. 

We decided to head up to Murphy, North Carolina, which is only about 30 minutes north of us.  There is a place called Panther Top Fire Station, and yesterday was the last day to go up there this year.

The 30 ft. former live-in Panther Top fire lookout tower was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940.  Standing atop a 2,293 ft. summit it is the westernmost tower in the state.  They open it to visitors one week-end a month during the summer and early fall.

It’s certainly not the highest point around, but the vista was amazing.  You could see for miles and miles in all directions.

The road to the fire station was a little narrow and two cars would have a tough time passing each other.  Someone might have to back up, (down a steep and curvy mountain road)

the road to Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

The last part of the drive put us on a very narrow gravel road, with steep sides and no shoulders.

We didn’t meet any oncoming cars when we went up.  Unfortunately, we weren’t as lucky going back down.

Once we got to the top, this beautiful cleared area opened up and the fire tower came into view.

Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

There was a volunteer manning the tower and he was very helpful.  They had an Osbourne Fire Finder that was used for triangulating where the fires were.  He showed us how it worked.  We pointed it towards Blairsville, but unfortunately, in that direction we had the hazy skies that is common to these mountains.  The haze is caused by rotting vegetation which gives the mountains the smoky look.  Hence, the Smoky Mountains.

The visibility was clear the other directions though.

This is the view of the parking lot from the tower.

Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

The view was amazing.  Unfortunately the camera didn’t quite capture how amazing.


Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

See the lake in the background?

Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

I’m not sure which lake this is, and I didn’t think to ask the volunteer.  There are a lot of man made lakes around here due to the dams made by the TVA.

Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

Here is a picture of Al going down the stairs.  My fear of heights made me a little nervous. Thank goodness for the handrails. 

Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

The pictures from below the stand weren’t quite as nice.


Panther Ridge Fire Station, Murpny, North Carolina

We didn’t stay too long, because we decided the later it got in the day, the more people would be heading up the mountain and we were a bit concerned what would happen if we met another car on certain parts of the road.  One of the hazards of driving a larger vehicle.

We knew if we could get past the first part of the road down, we would be okay.

We didn’t.  Almost as soon as we started heading down, we met another big truck.  He was a ranger driving a government truck, so he didn’t care about scratching his truck, and he pulled into the ditch up against the brush so that we could pass. Until he finished snuggling into the side of the mountain, Al wasn’t sure he could make it past without falling off the mountain.  : (

We managed to get past the worst part of the road with no other vehicles, then down the rest of the way in one piece.

After we left, we went to the big Murphy flea market.  It turned out to mostly be a junk market, so we left with our money still in our pockets.

We did a little more sightseeing, then made a stop at Home Depot for some pvc pipe.  We are trying to extend the sewer connection at the rental rv lot.  The connection is a little too far back and Al thought if he got some pvc pipe, he could extend it up a little further to make it easier for anyone renting the site.

The drive home was beautiful, as always.

fall foliage

The RV park road is lined with Bradford Pear trees.  They are ornamental trees and do not bear fruit, but they are sure pretty in the fall, aren’t they?

Here is our main site.  The tree on the right is the prettiest in the rv park right now.

our lot at Rivers Edge Rv Park, Blairsville, Georgia

Both trees are Bradfords.  I think the one on the left will change colors more.  Most of the others look like the one on the left.  Can’t wait until they all get orange.

our lot at Rivers Edge Rv Park, Blairsville, Georgia

our lot at Rivers Edge Rv Park, Blairsville, Georgia 

This is a different tree. I think it is an elm.  It’s pretty nice too.

our lot at Rivers Edge Rv Park, Blairsville, Georgia


I decided to give the crazy ice cream a try last night. 

I used vanilla ice cream. The topping was made with two parts of blood orange olive oil, mixed with one part of pomegranate vinegar.  It sounds really strange, but I heard it was delicious.  My opinion?  It tasted like sherbet!  

Did you know the correct spelling for sherbet is not sherbert?   I didn’t until my spell checker didn’t recognize sherbert and I looked it up.

per Wikipedia:

  • "Sherbert," Is an alternative (incorrect) spelling of sherbet, an iced dessert containing both fruit juice and between 1% and 2% milkfat

Learn something new every day!


Speaking of learning something new. I got a comment from Ruth, on my previous post, reminding me that I could edit power lines (and whatever else I want) out of photos by using Picasa editing tools.  She kindly edited the ugly power pole out of my picture for me.  It looks much better. Thanks Ruth.  I know about the feature, but just didn’t have the patience to do it.  Your version looks much better.


So, while we’re on the subject of learning new things. I think there is some misconception about Picasa.  I probably won’t explain it as well as Rick would, but you can use Picasa to edit your photos without having them be “on” Picasa.  Your photos are still stored on your computer in “my pictures” or where ever you want them.  Rick can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe if you store your photos on another drive to keep from filling up your hard drive, you can still edit them in Picasa.   I often see photos that I think could benefit by a little editing.  Straightening, cropping, etc.  


And…one more thing.

I have seen comments lately where people don’t see the header pictures on other blogs because they “read their blog on their phone.”  I often do the same thing, but you can tell your phone to use the web version, or the desk top version.  The web version won’t show header pictures or what their blog really looks like. Just go to settings and select “use desktop version.”  At least I can do it on my Android phone.  Can’t guarantee it on i-Phones.


  1. I think your pictures attest to the fact that it was well worth the harrowing drive up and down the mountain.

  2. The view is awesome. I just love all those colors. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  3. The view from the tower is fantastic. I love how you two keep finding little treasures nearby. It must be fun to be exploring your new home.

    Thanks for saying more about editing in Picasa. I don't like to store my photos there, so I avoid it. I also appreciate the reading blogs on your phone tip. I didn't ever think to change the settings.

  4. Such a beautiful area of the country for the fall colors. Before you know it there will be no leaves left on the trees. Time to head south!

  5. More wonderful fall colors, that will soon be history, thanks for sahring.


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