Home Away From Home, North Carolina

Grandfather Mountain

Today was such a fun day. To start off it was an absolutely beautiful sun shiny day so that always makes for a nice day. After a pretty delayed start we finally headed out for Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. We went several months ago with Jane, David and the kids but the top of the mountain was closed due to high winds but we did get to see the Split Rock and the Sphinx Rock plus of course they let us go as far as the gift shop! Also I had been years ago. In fact when I went they had the original swinging bridge – wow!

Today we got to go all the way to the top. We stopped along the way at one of the overlooks and then stopped at the woodworker’s shop and picnic area. We looked around a bit but decided to go up. We passed Split Rock and Sphinx Rock and climbed the steep incline toward the top. Hair pin curves made the drive even more interesting.

The  top of the mountain
The top of the mountain
When we got to the top we paused a moment just to look out over the beautiful vista – oh, how God has made this earth so pretty for us to enjoy. As Jerry said later if this world is this pretty can you imagine what heaven must be like. We then started the climb toward the bridge and to the very top. There is an elevator that one can ride to the top but we elected to walk. After a series of steps we reached the bridge. This bridge is new having replaced the old bridge in 1999. This is certainly more stable and not nearly as swingy. The maximum number of people allowed on the bridge at one time is 40 but there was nowhere near that this afternoon. In the middle of the bridge you are exactly one mile above sea level and about 80 feet above the ground.

We scrambled around on the rocks making our way to the top. I realized this morning that seven years ago we were standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon scrambling all around up there. I surely do hope that in seven more years we’ll be scrambling around some rocks somewhere!

The view just goes on forever. Fortunately it was a clear day so we could see a long way. In fact on some days you can see Charlotte which is 80 miles away. Interestingly enough things are not as green here as they are back home and not as green at Grandfather Mountain as they are at The Little Campground. Of course The Little Campground is in a valley so that would account for some of the difference as the temperature is warmer there.

I looked around and realized that Jerry was making his way back down to the bottom of the stairs and I knew he was going to try to get a picture of me at the top. Climbing down without his help was a bit more challenging but I made it.

We then went in the Gift Shop and looked around. I bought a magnet and then we headed back to the woodworker’s shop and the picnic area. We had a lovely picnic and then went for a nice walk around the area, about a half mile. IMG_3935There were signs along the way pointing out the various trees. One fact that I found very interesting was concerning the lichen on one of the rocks. Half of the rock was covered with lichen and then part of it wasn’t. The part covered with lichen was where no one had touched it. You could clearly see that the other part of the rock was where people had sat and no lichen had grown there.

Tom Wolf's studio
Tom Wolf’s studio
We headed back into the woodworkers shop where renown wood carver Tom Wolf was working. Jerry bought one of his walking sticks and Mr. Wolf carved Jerry’s name in it.

We left there and went back to the Sphinx Rock and the Split Rock. We climbed on the Sphinx Rock a bit but decided it was a bit risky and not worth the consequences should one of us fall.

IMG_1676We wandered on down Grandfather Mountain then and headed for Moses H Cone Memorial Park. It was a little further than I though and the GPS had a little trouble but we finally found it. The manor itself is beautiful and the view from the front porch is spectacular. I could just imagine sitting there in a rocking chair and gazing out over the mountains.

We didn’t stay long as it was getting late so we headed on back to the campground. A couple of stops later, one at a gas station and one at the local Lowes and we were “home”. We both sat outside and read for a while and then prepared dinner. Jerry had bought some green beans Saturday and I was eager to try out our new steamer using what I had “learned” at the FMCA rally. Let’s just say that I should have listened a bit better. I steamed them 6 minutes and then 6-7 more and they still were not done. Maybe tomorrow night!