I set out for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple of weekends ago from East Asheville to Balsam Gap, NC. It was a Jeep top-down kind of day on the dawn of it being officially fall.
I’ve lived in Asheville for 17 years, which I can hardly believe. In those 17 years I have been on the BRP countless times, especially as a means of escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life down below. When I was in college the parkway was a dear friend that served to nurture my need for comfort on countless levels. Not much has changed. I still go up there to get comfort that my soul just can’t find at lower altitudes. When I ascend the hills it is spiritual, and it was particularly so on this clear crisp day in mid September.
I honestly don’t ever remember a time like it – the clarity of the mountain terrain was surreal as the layers rippled out for miles, one atop the next. At one point I just sat down in the grass and this was the sight that my eyes beheld, and even this picture does it little justice. It was the moment itself that enveloped me. A moment in which I wasn’t thinking at all about work, decisions, bills, loved one’s, unknowns, or much of anything else. I was present to the reality that I was alive to behold this moment one breath at a time, and a truly beautiful one it was. Then I was struck with the truth sitting there looking out over the Blue’s, that it just doesn’t get any better than that down here.
Go do your heart some good and go for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or Take A Hike. Rest assured it will make the rest of the hours in your week that much lighter!
Today I ventured out on a hike through the woods at the North Carolina Arboretum with some friends. It was an enchanting early fall day as a cool breeze accompanied the mix of sun and clouds. It truly made for a perfect walk with very few people around, which was surprising. We hit the trail for an uphill climb on Hard Times Road and meandered a loop that consisted of about 4 miles in total. The forest floor was beautiful and the surround sound consisted of chirping birds and stillness, aside from our occasional conversations.
If you have not been out to the Arboretum in awhile, I would encourage you to go. It’s a worthy investment of for your eyes, ears, and heart! The gardens are beautiful as always, and current exhibits consist of quilt art from the Western North Carolina quilters guild. Bring your hiking shoes for the trails, which range from easy to moderate. If you bike there are many trails available for that as well. Wherever you go, be sure to take advantage of these early fall days and get out to Take A Hike!
There are many great hiking trails in Western North Carolina surrounding Asheville in every direction, including just over the hill in Marion, NC. If you want to get away from people, the Pisgah Forest in Marion sports some serene paths, streams, and great hiking views.
This week I hiked a trail just off of Route 80 in Marion past Lake Tahoma off of Buck Creek Road. There was a runner on the road and a fly fisherman on the stream, but little else. It was a great fall day, about 68 degrees there in Marion and a friend and I hit the trail for a moderately challenging day in the boots with packs on back.
If you have never hiked in that area, I would encourage you to grab a companion and go exploring! You won’t regret taking in the sites of pristine mountain creeks, hoping rocks, the smell of fall in the air, and getting in a great workout under the canopy of our beautiful blue Carolina sky. The leaves are falling and the temperatures are dropping, so be sure to bring an extra layer and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Go soon…you won’t regret it! And if you need a map, drop by Take A Hike!
My daughter and I went to hike Lookout in Montreat yesterday and met a follow who had just been stung 8 times by yellow-jackets. They are about 150 – 200 yards up the trail from the parking lot on the right side. A plastic water bottle has been placed there to mark the spot. I wouldn’t assume the bottle to still be there so take caution.
We turned around and went up the Rainbow trail. Longer than I remember but had a wonderful time.
Greybeard Mountain is left center and the one in the background is Mount Mitchel. A typical late Summer hot day with some great clouds.