I spent my weekend at my family’s house in North Carolina. Over a decade ago, my grandparents purchased it to be a meeting place for their kids and grand kids that were spread across the southeast. My grandparents have passed, but the house is still used for it’s original purpose. Full of memories and family, I don’t hesitate to say I love that place. I wasn’t there for long this trip. We pulled in the driveway around 9 on Saturday night, and left late afternoon Monday. Since our stay was so short, we didn’t get to do most of the things we usually do, but we made a point to go on two of our favorite hikes. One to Linville Falls, the other up Grandfather Mountain. Both are beyond beautiful. The air is fresh, and the landscape a perfect image of grandeur. They’re the kind of places that make you stop and realize the majesty of this earth we live on.
Linville Falls is a great hike. With a wide variety of easy to difficult trails, it makes it an ideal place for families with children or pets. Be prepared to wait on a lot of people to pass and say, “excuse me” on this path. Also, do not be surprised if you find yourself a little lost. Trails fork and twist in all different directions here. Don’t be afraid to ask someone how they got down to the falls. You’ll want to see it from the bottom. The most amazing thing about this waterfall is that it makes a 90 degree turn about half way down. The waterfall is stopped and redirected by a huge section of rock face is has not yet eroded before it rushes into the pool below.
Grandfather Mountain is a State Park on the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park has a museum, restaurant, animal park, and it’s famous mile-high swinging bridge. All are great experiences to see before, after, or instead of hiking. Hiking is why I visit though. The paths are relatively difficult, but well worth it to see some of the most beautiful mountain views. My favorite path to Macrae Peak (the panoramic view from this view is at the top of this post) forces hikers to climb several ladders. Some which are perched only a few feet from the edge of the mountain. Clearly, it is a rather unwise choice for those afraid of heights. With that in mind, there is another path to the top that runs up the opposite side of the mountain called the Underwood Trail. Heights don’t bother me, so I only went down this way to find out what it was like. Let me just say… If you plan on walking up this way, be prepared to have extremely sore legs. The trail is half a mile of series of rock staircases with little break between them. Whatever way you choose to go, pack a lunch or snack to eat at the peak. The view is so breathtaking, you’ll want to stay for a while.
Take a hike to a grand location. Feel accomplished. Feel small.