Many of the recent GeoWoodstocks have had an outing or excursion sometime during the week before the Mega and we will too.
On Thursday morning, May 25, we will take a train ride on the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad (GSMR) along the Nantahala River. We are reserving a Gondola car that seats 58. It is covered but has open sides for the full view. Our online shop will have tickets for this.
If demand warrants, and we think it will, we can add additional seats.
The train ride is 4 1/2 hours and covers 44 miles to the Nantahala Gorge and back, with a 1-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC). The train ride is NOT a geocaching event, but we do plan to have an event at the NOC where the 1-hour layover is so that others can meet us if they want.
We think this will be a fun opportunity for you to see some of the beautiful scenery of western North Carolina with a group of fellow geocachers. The train departs from/returns to the depot in Bryson City. That is about a 90 minute west drive from downtown Asheville according to Google Maps, so plan to get up early! We will meet at the depot at 9:45am on May 25 and should get back to the depot around 3pm. That will give you time to get back to Asheville in time to catch an event we have planned there Thursday evening.
The GSMR also offers boxed meals, but we are not going to purchase those, just the reservations for attendees. Instead, we will provide a simple lunch that will be delivered to the 1-hour layover so we can enjoy a picnic by the river.
At this time, we do NOT know if you can purchase your own boxed meal from GSMR on the day of the ride. Our meal will include a sandwich/sub, assorted bags of chips to choose from and water or perhaps soft drinks. Nothing fancy, but we’ll only charge $5 per meal which is half the cost of the GSMR boxed lunch and less than it will cost us to provide.
More details on our lunch will come later, we’re trying to get all the details together as quickly as we can.
If you choose not to purchase a lunch from us, we strongly recommend that you bring along a bag lunch or at least some snacks. There will not be extra lunches available at the layover event. There is a restaurant and some small shops and an outfitter at the NOC layover where you could buy a lunch, but the stop is advertised as only 1 hour and you MUST be back on the train when it leaves, or you will have a very long and expensive Uber ride! Should be easy if you’re just buying some snacks, but we don’t know how long it may take to get served lunch in the restaurant, especially if a crowd shows up all at the same time. They probably are not too busy on a Thursday, but that is just a guess.
Here is a link to the Nantahala Gorge Excursion page. Explore their website to learn more.
Our tickets will cost $50 for adults (12 and up – their definition, not ours), $25 for children 2-12 and free for under 2. Age based on the date of the ride, not on the date you purchase tickets, so keep that in mind.
The ticket prices are what we will pay GSMR after a small group discount and taxes, we are not making any extra money from you on this.
Here is a pic from the GSMR website.
And here is what the gondola cars look like.
By the end of February or early March, we will publish most of the other events that lead up to GeoWoodstock.