Conquering My Fears. Western NC.

As I write this post I am listening to “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo. So bear with me. It really characterizes my past weekend at Santaland and The Road To Nowhere in western North Carolina. So first off my weekend started on my way to Santaland. For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to Santaland I’m sure you’ll understand that it has to do with Santa and somewhere he lies lives.

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From my heart and from my hand/ why don’t people understand… My intentions.

Why was there a megalomaniacal Easter rabbit in the land of Santa? Santaland is a Christmas theme park and zoo in Cherokee, NC. I can’t tell you when it was established but I’m betting it was probably in the 70’s or 80’s. The place, to put in the lightest of terms, was run down. Paint was chipping from the holiday statues, and the rides were a bit too jerky. And when I went barely anyone was there. If you truly want to go you should go at this time of the year.

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A very hungry deer trying to eat my phone.

All the workers wear elf costumes and hats and most of them were over thirty. It was funny talking to one of the workers about the “Rudicoaster”, a children’s rollercoaster. She told me that it’s the best looking at parents faces since it scares them the most. I have no idea though, it wasn’t that bad compared to actual rollercoasters I’ve been on. A childrens ride scares parents… oy vey.

So moving on. There’s lots of stuff to do there… if you’re 5. The Rudicoaster being the most rough out of all the rides, there was the ferris wheel that’ll spin you into the clouds (gives you great views of the park), and there were the paddleboats in the koi infested waters. I’m not even exaggerating the word infested. Coming up from the depths of the lake and surrounding our boat, koi fish bobbed their little mouths up to us in search of some brown fish food pellets you could buy for a couple of coins. It was crazy.

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Its my creation/I do not know/No hesitation/no heart of gold

As a little kid I was scared of Santa and look at me now, conquering my fears, sitting right on the mans knee! I’d recommend going if you’re into dilapidated amusement parks. I don’t know why but I find them interesting and it always makes me wonder what it was like in their heydays. It was fun reverting back to my childhood too.

Next, lets talk about my career… The Road to Nowhere. SIKE! I went to a deserted tunnel where the road literally stops, but that could easily be synonymous with my career.

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So as you can see this is the Road to Nowhere. It was built in the 1930’s after Swain County, NC gave up the majority of its land to the government. The tunnel suffered some environmental issues and plans to finish the road were called off. It’s located in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

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The light at the end of the tunnel.

So as you walk up to the tunnel you’ll find that it is a very HUGE tunnel and that the end doesn’t look that far. I was let down. Graffiti decorates the beginning and the end of the tunnel but surprisingly- well, not really surprisingly, the middle of the tunnel is blank.

Okay, so walking through this thing you’ll find it is a half mile long. At the beginning I traipsed into it like a brave explorer but in the middle when the graffiti fades away I started panicing. I literally started to lose my breath. The end is still pretty far and the feeling that something behind you is looming right behind your shoulders. So I decided to turn back. My Aunt gave me her keys and I said adieu/ good luck and off I went back to the car.

Right as I got closer to the beginning I thought “you know, once you get back to the car you’re gonna regret not walking through this thing. This is what you came here for!” So what did I do? I turned around, gulped down some air, pulled my britches up a little further and ran back to my Aunt who is much braver than I. “WAIT, I’m gonna do it!” I yelled. The whole tunnel is pitch black and neither of us had a flashlight.

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My feet literally at the end of the road.

So for the rest of the weekend my phone died. I went to the mountains with 85% on my phone and I can’t say anything else except I’m sorry.

The next day we went to Wayah Bald. It’s a treeless, open observation tower at a high altitude of 5,385 feet. We didn’t hike up there but we took a treacherous car ride up to the top of the mountain. It’s located in the Nantahala National Forest. It’s a beautiful view and it was chilly, just the way I like it. I highly recommend going up there.

After that we made our way back to the SC. Before all this Santa landing and tunnel traipsing we actually wanted to go mining for rubies. We gave up when the location we went to was closed but at the end of the day, on our way back, we spotted another location.

We halted the breaks then pulled a donut back around. I got 2 rubies and 1 sapphire, and my aunt found a 3 carat emerald. They aren’t like the shined and cut jewels you see at the jewelry store. Frankly, they’re just stones but it’s all super fun when you actually picture these things actually cut and shined.

So there we have it, I conquered my fears in North Carolina. Santa, and super long, super dark tunnels can’t touch me now!

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