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Hunger Games

Book Clubs, Brave Writer, Homeschooling, Literature, tweens and teens

Happy Hunger Games (aka: Our First Boomerang Bookclub)

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This year, my 7th grader (Kayleigh), graduated from using the BraveWriter Arrow book guides (grades 3-6) to the Boomerang book guides (grades 7-12).

The Boomerang book guides include Think-Piece questions and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to discuss the questions between the two of us, so I decided to organize a book club!

I selected one of my favorite books, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, as our kick-off book. The characters are fantastic and the writing is incredible.  I was hopeful that our first book discussion would be easier because I knew that most of the girls would be familiar with the plot.

We kicked off our first meeting last night and it was a huge hit!

Our First Party School Book Club was Hunger Games themed for a discussion of Catching Fire. Click for ideas for food, decor and discussion. Continue Reading

Adventures/Travel, North Carolina Adventures

Hunger Games Fans – Arena Sites – Dupont State Park, Part II

We spent our second day at DuPont State Forest hiking to Bridal Veil Falls.  There are quite a number of hiking options from the Visitor’s Center, but we were sticking with our desire to see the setting in the arena when the careers find Katniss in the pool of water just after her leg is burnt during the exploding trees forest fire.

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This 2.2 mile hike is fairly easy with only gentle hills.  The overwhelming majority of the path is gravel road, which hikers share with bikers, horses, and the occasional vehicle.  The hike took us about 45 minutes, including some picture stops along that way.

The Covered Bridge Road was our first picture stop.  Located .6 miles into our hike, we enjoyed a short rest and some pretty scenery.

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The next leg of the journey was a bit longer.  We hiked 1.1 miles until we reached the crossroad and turned on to Bridal Veil Falls Rd.  The road was very clearly marked.  You couldn’t miss it!

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The final leg of our hike was .6 miles and then we reached the beautiful falls.

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After stopping at this observation spot, we headed to the bottom of the falls.  Of course, as with all of the waterfalls in the state forest, the danger is very real.

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We didn’t have a tour guide on this one, so I don’t know any exact locations, but I do know that they had to re-route the water coming down the rocks to create the pool of water that Katniss jumped in to relieve her burnt leg.  This meant that the rocks were slick in spots for the careers as they came over the rock face.  When you watch this scene, you will notice that they sort of “hop/skip” instead of run toward Katniss.  This was for practical reasons because the rocks were freshly slick!

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We began our hike up the rock face, exploring the various pools created in the rocks. It was a beautiful climb.

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At the top, we were rewarded with an up close view of the “bridal veil” part of the falls.  This section doesn’t appear in the “Hunger Games”, but it is seen in “Last of the Mohicans”.

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It was beautiful. We were fortunate that a few nearby hikers helped us climb behind the falls.13-IMG_5341 14-IMG_5345 15-IMG_5347

On our way down, we relaxed on the rocks a bit longer.  The entire area is just so beautiful, but we knew that we had one more Hunger Game sight to see, so we took off for a little more exploring.
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Our next goal was to find the approximate area of the fire and exploding trees in the Hunger Games.  We were told that it was directly across from the bike rack.  We have no doubt that we found the EXACT section of woods because it was very clear that we aren’t the only ones who discovered it.


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Just take it all in.  Katniss nearly died here.

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This discovery was particularly exciting for Kayleigh because she has a souvenir necklace, given to her on our tour of District 12, made from a ring of the gas piping used in the explosions in the forest.
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We began the 2.2 mile return hike with sad hearts.  It had been a wonderful Hunger Games weekend, but it was time for it to end.

Of course, we might have returned to Triple Falls one more time.  And District 12 on the way home.

Adventures/Travel, North Carolina Adventures

Hunger Games Fans – Arena Sites – DuPont State Park

On our first day of our Hunger Games Fandom weekend, we took a trip to District 12 in the morning.

By the afternoon, we were hiking in DuPont State Forest, just south of Asheville, North Carolina.  DuPont State Forest is the location of many of the scenes in the arena of the Hunger Games movie.  Some great information can be found on this Asheville Visitor’s site.

The two main sites that we visited were Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.  Triple Falls was our first stop and it was definitely an easy hike.  We parked at the Hooker Falls parking lot, which is about one mile away from the Visitor’s Center.

If you take a moment to walk up to the road and look down at the river below, you will see where the director had Katniss jump back and forth on the rocks for scenes in the movie.  She heads to the left bank, then to the right bank.  It is fairly zoomed in during the movie, so no one is the wiser about her travelling from one side to the other.

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Once you have taken in the scene from the road, you can walk back down and follow the path for Triple Falls.  Head all the way to the top.  There is a pretty steep climb, but it is fairly short.  You’ll have a beautiful view of all three waterfalls on your way to the top.

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Once you finish your climb, there are stairs on your left to take you down to the bottom of the uppermost waterfalls.  This is not one of the movie set locations, but a beautiful place to explore.

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Once you are done exploring the upper section, make your way down to the bottom of the last waterfall in the series.  To accomplish this, you can climb back up the stairs, hike down the path and enter at the very bottom and then walk along the flat rocks to the lower waterfall.  Or you can climb down the rocks from the top.

We choose to climb down the rocks.  The rock area on the right side of the photo below was very dry and had ledges, so it felt fairly safe on the day we were there.  Water conditions change each day, so please be wise.  There are signs everywhere reminding folks that death occurs at the waterfalls every year.

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The area below this bottom waterfall is where most of the filming at Triple Falls occurred.  It was here that Katniss heard the announcement that there could be two winners.  She found blood and followed its trail which eventually led to Peeta, camouflaged in the rock.

Oh, there you are Peeta.  Or is that a dead tribute?

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This area is magnificent.  There is plenty of flat, dry rock, so have a good time exploring.

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As you wander down the rest of the rocks, you’ll find a popular swimming area.  Bring a bathing suit and join in the fun!  It’s what the cast from the Hunger Games did.

Our next stop was Bridal Veil Falls, which we tackled the following morning and I’ll tackle in my next post.

 

Adventures/Travel, North Carolina Adventures

Hunger Games Fans – Visit District 12

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It’s no secret, at least in this house, that I LOVE young adult literature. It is one of my guilty pleasures. In fact, I read The Hunger Games long before I had children old enough to read it.

Fast forward to 2015 and I have a tween in the house who shares my enthusiasm for The Hunger Games, giving me a fabulous excuse to partake in crazy, fun fandom activities.

On this particular occasion, after acquiring appropriate fandom attire, we set off for the District 12 Filming site.  District 12 is located near Hickory, North Carolina at the historic mining village, Henry River Mill Village.

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The Henry River Mill Village is located off exit 119 on Rt. 40.  This is just passed the town of Hickory if you are headed there from the east.  Once off the exit ramp, turn right and drive about 2 miles.  You’ll begin to see some dilapidated homes on either side of the road.  These are some of the homes from District 12.  The ones on your right hand side were not in the movie, but the ones on the left are part of it!

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Straight ahead is a gravel parking lot.  It is at this point that the road takes a pretty hard curve to the right.  It is easy to miss the sign for the Hunger Games movie because it is facing the other way.  Instead, look for this bright yellow “For Sale” sign (left photo).  As you pull in, you’ll be able to see the Hunger Games movie sign (right photo).

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At this point, please be aware that you have entered private property.  The 72 acres which contain District 12 are owned by one gentleman, Mr. Wade, who lives in a home at the far back of the property.  I’ve been told that he is a great guy and pretty understanding of folks taking photos in front of that first iconic building that you see on the right.

Peeta’s bakery…who can resist a shot?

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In the past, there has been vandalism, including the theft of the “P” and “A” in “PASTRIES”, so you will notice that the sign has been redone and covered in plexi-glass. So have fun, but don’t take advantage of the kindness of the owner!

If you want to see more of District 12, then I suggest taking part in a tour offered by “Unofficial Hunger Games Tours“.  This company offers two options for day tours.  One tour is of the Henry River Mill Village and the other is for scenes that took place in DuPont State Forest (stay tuned for a future post).

We decided to tour the District on our first day.

NOTE:  The rest of these photos were taken as part of the Unofficial Hunger Games tour.  I DO NOT suggest or advise doing any of these activities or wandering on this property without explicit permission from the owner, which the tour guides do have.

The tour begins with a history of the area and some general information.  Then we get right into our iconic scenes.  The guide had helpful photos to jog your memory if you didn’t remember exactly how it looked in the movies.

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The company had props to enhance your photos, so you can BE Peeta and you can BE Katniss.

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Or together, you can BE Peeta and Katniss.


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You’ll notice on the photo above that the pigpen is missing as it was built just for the movie AND a tree was transplanted for Katniss to lay her head against.  The tree was then returned to its owner (Mr. Wade) and replanted back in his yard.  That tree isn’t all that close to this scene.  The directors must have REALLY liked that particular tree!

Your tour guides will fill you in with all sorts of little tidbits of information such as the tree story.

At the beginning of the movie, Katniss exits her house and jogs through the district.  Then she runs across a dam and meets Gale in the woods.  We stood in that scene in the district and then viewed the Dam (closed for safety) from above.

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The coal miners enter a building in the movie (during a flashback sequence) and the building blows up.  That was not computer generated imagry.  They actually blew up this building on the property with the permission of Mr. Wade.

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Walk in the EXACT spot Effie walks in District 12, though they imported some gravel for the scene.

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Finally, tour the Everdeen’s home.

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And do a complete scene re-enactment if you wish.

The tour includes a souvenir loaf of bread that you create from clay.  We stamped ours with the Mockingjay symbol.

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We also enjoyed a Hunger Games inspired lunch.  The presentation was lovely and the food was filling.

I have to admit.  It felt very “District 12-like” to sit in District 12 and eat bread with goat cheese.  Just call us Katniss and Gale.

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Finally, no tour of district 12 is complete without some archery lessons and a full game of archery tag.

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Due to a mix up with scheduling, my daughter also received a Fire Ring necklace.  This is a genuine limited edition collector’s item that was cut from the gas piping used in the movie to blow up trees in the fire scene in the arena.

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Pretty cool.

If you have a fan in the house, I definitely suggest a swing by the District 12 site if you find yourself on Rt. 40 between Greensboro and Asheville.  The tour was a wonderful bonus if your dates work out.

Leigh, who runs the tours, is lovely!  I have no partnership whatsoever with the Unofficial Hunger Games tours, but would love for you to let her know I sent you as a continual thank-you for our wonderful day!