Yesterday I shared my experiences while fly fishing in North Carolina last weekend, and while that was a fantastic part of the trip, it wasn't the only thing I did while I was there. On the contrary, the visit was brief – just three days – but filled with some fantastic outdoor activities, including hiking and mountain biking in various parts of Jackson County, the setting for my trip. And while there, I discovered plenty of outdoor adventures to keep me occupied, but also found that the region has a lot to offer in terms of culinary delights as well.
One of the first things on the agenda upon arriving and checking into the hotel was a visit to the Sapphire Valley Resort. During the summer months, Sapphire Valley offers visitors a host of activities, including a full 18-hole golf course set in the tranquil mountains of western North Carolina. In the winter, the resort switches over to skiing, offering a great place for beginners to cut pick up the skills need to hit the slopes, while keeping more advanced skiers occupied too.
While fall is definitely in the air in North Carolina, we were along way off from anyone shredding on the ski slopes. So instead, we climbed high into the trees to try out the on-site zipline experience. The Sapphire Valley zipline was first built back in 2014, and has since been expanded to 14 different platforms to fly off of. And while the activity will certainly give you an adrenaline rush, it isn't so intense that you can't bring the whole family along for the fun.
The team at Sapphire Valley helped us to gear up and get on the lines as quickly as possible, providing a nice introduction to zipping, as well as providing some handy safety tips too. After climbing into our harnesses, putting on our helmets, and learning the ropes so to speak, we soon found ourselves flying through the trees at breakneck speed. The course is shorter than some that I've done in the past, but the setting was great and it was a lot of fun to be so high up in the trees as the leaves were changing color. I'm told the course is open in the winter too, which means anyone ziplining at that time is soaring above the skiers passing below.
After we completed the zipline course, I was introduced to a completely new sport that I had never seen before. In addition to its traditional golf course, Sapphire Valley happens to be home to a "foot golf" course as well. What's foot golf you ask? Well, it's a new activity growing in popularity in which you try to kick a soccer ball into a suitably sized hole. You keep score just as you would in regular golf, with each hole being rated for par and given a handicap as well. Best of all, the foot golf course runs parallel to the standard golf course, meaning some family members can play one sport, while some play the other.