Welcome to Torg Stories!

Dear Reader,

Thank you for stopping by the Torg Stories site. I’m an ex-basketball coach and English teacher turned writer, filmmaker, podcaster, and professor. Originally from a small town called Winamac, Indiana, now I split my time between Asheville, North Carolina where I live with my family and New York City where I teach First Year Writing at St. John’s University in Queens. Torg Stories have found their way into the world taking many forms including…

Books

Click here for Torg books for sale on Amazon

Indiana, basketball, love, divorce, winamac, Indiana, Pat Conroy, book club

Pat Conroy called The Coach’s Wife“One of the best books about basketball and coaching I have ever read with a love story so complicated and wonderful it will have book groups talking about it for years.”

Thanks to Pat. I learned a lot about writing from reading his work, and I’m thankful to be able to keep hearing from him via his books.

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MIdwestern Gothic, novel in stories, Winamac, Indiana, basketball, Flannery O'Connor, William Torgerson

Horseshoe is Midwestern Gothic collection of stories with themes about love, sin, guilt, and redemption.

romantic comedy, eighties, John Hughes, Say Anything, Olivet Nazarene University, basketball, college writing, winamac, Indiana, book club

In Love on the Big Screen, Zuke is a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-80’s romantic comedies.

Films

morel mushrooms, hunting, Indiana, France Park, Bill William Torgerson, Martin Torgerson

The Mushroom Hunter is about my father and his buddies’ passion for hunting morel mushrooms.

Click here to watch “The Mushroom Hunter” free online.

More Torg Stories films: Christopher’s Garden and For the Love of Books

 

Grandfather Mountain Hike

We Torgs used a day off from school (thank you for your service, Veterans!) to drive east and hike at Grandfather Mountain near Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Upon our arrival, we were told the top of the mountain, where the swinging bridge and most of the trails are located, was closed due to high winds. Warning to anyone who is interested in going: it’s $20 per adult and $9 for kids to be admitted to the park. Also of note: you can park on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike in if you’re up for it. That’s what I’ll do as soon as our kids can handle the hike. We were admitted for half price since the top of the mountain was closed.

After about an hour inside the park, the top was opened. Here are some pictures and video from our visit:

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the bridge at Grandfather Mountain

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it was still windy on the bridge

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ladders were fun and scary

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a video from the ladders

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Grandfather Mountain, hiking, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

My wife Megan started to get nervous here.

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Grandfather Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone, North Carolina, Hiking, Blue Ridge Parkway

We did it!

Lover’s Leap and Paint Rock: Views of the French Broad River from Up on High

As a part of work I’m doing on a film about the French Broad River, I drove north from Asheville to Hot Springs so that I could shoot some video of the river from Paint Rock and Lover’s Leap.

Paint Rock is about seven miles north of Hot Springs on River Road. Heading north on Highway 25 into Hot Springs, I took a right onto River Road right before the bridge. It’s a pretty cool road in that it is narrow, changes to gravel, and stays very close to the water. I had to stop once because there were a bunch of wild turkeys in the road.

River Road, Hot Springs, North Carolina, Appalachian Trail, AT

River Road near Hot Springs

I made a mistake that got me about 40 minutes of extra exercise. I wanted to stand on the cliffs and take a picture of the river and so I looked up the Paint Rock Trail online before I left. I read that I should go 1/10 of a mile on Forest Road 54 and look for the trail. I found it easy enough and began to hike. It was a hot day for November, in the upper 80’s. The trail was very steep and kept me at least 30 yards from the edge of where I thought the cliffs might be. The underbrush was thick and I was a little worried about scrambling through the underbrush and falling over the edge down onto the rocks. I thought the trail would come out to an overlook. Eventually, after thirty minutes of hiking practically straight up, I was so high that that I wouldn’t be able to shoot the river with my GoPro.

Paint Rock, North Carolina, French Broad River

from Paint Rock Trail

On the way down, I got off the trail a few times to try and find the overlook I had in mind but didn’t see anything. Once I got off the mountain, I waded around in the area of where Paint Creek flows into the French Broad. I stared up at the cliffs and couldn’t see how I could get out to one of the lookouts. I also realized that even if I could scale one of the cliffs before me, it wouldn’t offer much of a view of the river as much as the adjacent mountain.

I started to walk on River Road back toward Hot Springs and the direction I’d come. It was then I noticed a very steep trail that went up to a ledge that looked out on the river. I’d done a tough 40 minute hike when a little five minute scramble would have done the job.

I took some pictures and shot the video I needed, and so with plenty of time to still get back to Lover’s Leap, I didn’t mind the extra workout.

French Broad River, Paint Rock

video footage from here will make our French Broad River movie

 

In Hot Springs, you access the Appalachian Trail to Lover’s Leap across the bridge from town. If you’re headed north into Hot Springs, you need to take a right before you can drive under Highway 25 and park at the Nantahala Outdoor Center parking lot. The AT goes right past the parking lot. I’m 90% sure that the rapid pictured below is called Surprise. We went over this with Blue Heron Whitewater when we did Section 9 of the French Broad River with them. The water level is wayyyy down from when I was last in Hot Springs.

surprise rapid, Hot Springs, North Carolina

Surprise Rapid

I walked along the river upstream to follow the white blazed AT. There are many switchbacks to get to the top.

Hot Springs, NC, resort, AT, French Broad River

Hot Springs Resort from Lover’s Leap

I was excited to meet a solo AT hiker. He told me he was doing half of the trail this year and the other half next year. He’d started earlier in the summer from Harpers Ferry, WV.The guy had covered over 20 miles on the day we met and over 400 miles for the summer. I told him my family and I had gone up there to buy a used raft.

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from the bridge in Hot Springs

 

Click here to find the Facebook page for our French Broad River movie

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Write me with questions or suggestions: William.Torgerson @ gmail.com

Thanks for being interested in what we are up to at Torg Stories!

 

 

Have less. Live More: Torg Stories Podcast with Yukon and Bean

Have less. Live More: Torg Stories Podcast with Yukon and Bean

Welcome to the Torg Stories podcast at TheTorg.com. September 15, 2016 edition.

This week I talked to Angie and Nelson Stegall. These two are known as Yukon and Bean on their website. Angie and Nelson were a big part of the catalyst that inspired my family and I to raft 140 miles of the French Broad River. They made essentially the same trip we made except for while we went home every night to work on our movie, these two camped.

Their life philosophy is to have less and live more. Because they are a tenant on a farm living in a 250 square foot trailer, we met at the Penrose Access Area on the French Broad and near the town of Brevard. Dupont Forest, home of some of my favorite waterfalls in the state, is  and one of my favorite spots in the area, Dupont Forest. You’ll hear the occasional car drive by and several times a small airplane. I started off by asking these two how they met.

audio podcast above and on iTunes

Video Podcast Above

French Broad River, documentary, movie, film, Asheville, Brevard, Hot Springs

Yukon and Bean on their Raft

 

We four NC Torgs have completed our trip on the French Broad River. We are now doing interviews with a variety of people knowledgeable about the French Broad including a geologist, biologist, fish hatchery superintendent, water quality testers, and more!

If you have questions, comments or ideas for our French Broad River movie, we’d love to hear from you.

Click here to find the Facebook page for our movie.

Please consider sharing this post via email or to social media platforms.

Thanks for being interested in what we are up to at Torg Stories!