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nc snorkling

hello all...
we just got back from a nc camping trip. my son, 9 and his friend, 11 and
myself. we camped beside a mountain stream near joyce kilmer and andrews nc...
the lair of the "bomber"... run, rudolph run!  this has been a long favorite
spot of ours and it keeps getting better. peaceful, starfilled nights, cool
refreshing weather, plentiful mushrooms ( just the eatin kind ), a soft spot
for our tent and a clear mountain stream at our toes. it had rained as we were
arriving and the stream visibility was only 3 or 4 feet. the next day was rain
in the morning and dissappointingly with even lesser visability. upon awaking
the next morning... ( im to old to lay on rocks all night and worrying about
getting licked by a bear )...we were in for a pleasant suprise. we could see
about 20 feet... virtually crystal clear. warpaint shiners, trout, sculpins,
hog suckers, the biggest greenside darters ive ever seen, green fin darters
and a variety of shiners that i do not know... tho very pretty. i was able to
bring home 2 small greensides and 1 green fin. i also brought a small juvenile
shiner to try and id as it matures. i also caught 2 hellbenders; one at 2' the
other at 5". the 5"er ate the 2"er on the way home and regurgated a mess...
not good. he's been regulated to a small tank with a couple of green sunfish.
last year we found a dead 15" one left from a bad trout fisherman's catch.
some folks are afraid of these guys. all the fish lacked vivid colors, as i
suppose the breeding is about over. i will try to return in the spring and
brave the waters for a color glimpse. the current temp was about 70... i could
stand it for about 2 hours in my shorty wetsuit. the boys only about 30
minutes in their skin doing the rock slid thing. but we would warm up with a
mushroom or firewood walk and be ready for another cool chigger wash off
this saturday we are all headed south for our 2 week texas tour and will stop
off and visit with bg and bessie in louisiana for a swamp stomp and cajun
cookoff! yeeha. and then on to austin, houston and san antonio. anybody from
them parts?  i will jump in barton springs again and check all the ditches and
bridges along the way :)
summers leaving... get in while you can...