Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Walking on Wednesday - I'm On Top of the World Part 1 - Craggy Gardens

It isn't every day you can say 'I'm on top of the world' and literally be a mile high, completely feeling like you ARE on top of the world.
We got to last Saturday.
View from Craggy Pinnacle
The kids were on Spring Break last week, and I wanted us to do something fun, something cheap if not free, and special. Since we can't take a trip for vacation (see cheap mentioned above) due to limited funds, and my oldest having to work several days of the week, it had to be local.

Luckily, we happen to live in a mountain range that offers hikes and views that are incredible. We went for a hike last fall and that was such a wonderful day everyone was willing to hike again, but this time wanted to try a different hike. 
We decided to pick an easy hike close to home. Craggy Gardens. 
It is almost like going on vacation, but is only 9 miles from our house.
Tunnels through the Rhododendron's
The trail was said to be an 'easy' one, and only 1.4 miles, a 'there and back' trail so no real fear of getting lost, plus a picnic area. 

The trail, and whole area, is famous for the Rhododendron bushes, but they aren't in bloom until June. Since it is still chilly way up that high, there wasn't many leaves or blooming things, so we just enjoyed the tunnels of branches.
We came across a very cute, tiny, 'waterfall', which I think is a natural spring (if the literature is right). We did not disturb it and taste the water. The warnings on the road were that we were in the Asheville Watershed area, and not to disturb anything, so we just marveled at how tiny it was.
Tiny Spring of Fresh Water
We hadn't hiked very far when we reached a grassy open area. Was this the picnic area? 
Picnic Bench?? No...but still a welcome sight.
Couldn't be! Though that is an inviting bench there out in the middle of nowhere. 
Trio of  Craggy Trees
It turned out that is wasn't the picnic area, but a nice view and good place to take a break. The trees were on the verge of creepy, still waiting for the warm weather to reach these elevations and start the blooming process. You can see a few just starting on some of the trees, and some of the  Rhododendron had green but most things were pretty brown still.
Exploring in the Mountains
It was a good place to do a little exploring too. And of course, the boys went to see what they could find.
You Never Outgrow Climbing Trees
We soon found out a bonfire area, and thought this was the best place to take a break. No, you never really grow out of climbing trees. The oldest, graduated from high school and going to college in the fall, is the one highest in the trees.
Hanging Around at Craggy Gardens
Not to be outdone, the youngest had to climb higher in a different tree. He brought his binoculars, and he enjoyed some awesome views up there. 

We then decided we would continue down the path to find the real picnic area. 
Yes, it was all down hill.
Bear Den?? No, nothing was there.
It was still enjoyable because we got to see some very cool things along the way. Like cool rock formations. No, nothing was living there, or at least nothing was there at this time.
Funky Tree Tunnel
We also got to see funky trees. This one has a tunnel going right through it. 
'The Scream' Tree
All I could think after seeing this one was - 'Holy Tree, Batman.' The kids are calling this 'The Scream Tree'. 
Red Kidney Bug - what the heck kind of bug is this??
Don't ask me what this bug is...other than very red, and looking like a kidney bean with legs.
Finally we reached the picnic grounds.
Craggy Gardens Picnic Area
Now, if we brought a real picnic, this would have been perfect. (even though it kinds reminded me of Aslan's table) But we didn't bring a picnic. Maybe next time. Or maybe not because the hike back was all UPHILL.
Judging from the people we passed going uphill, while we going downhill, on this trail huffing and puffing and looking generally miserable, we knew it must be a tough, long, uphill way to go to get back to the car. 
Uphill #1
It wasn't bad at first.
Uphill #2
But the trail kept going, uphill.
Uphill #3
And going and going uphill. The kids sometimes had to stop and wait for me.
Uphill #4
Then we could keep going.  Uphill. And soon they were far ahead.
*panting* 'Are we there yet?' *gasping* 'Thank Goodness!'
Finally, we reached the pavilion, me bringing up the rear as usual. But this meant the end of the uphill battle. Thank goodness. I couldn't believe how hard I was breathing - especially since I have been walking every day for over a month now.....
The kids had already pulled out the snacks and drinks by the time I got to the pavilion. Let me tell you, I have never had a better grape.
Grapes are THE best snack after and uphill hike!
The carvings in the benches and posts were fun to read too. 
We chatted with some fellow hikers who told us about the Craggy Pinnacle Hike. They said it was only 1.4 miles, and though considered a moderate trail, not that difficult. It was right up the road, and the views were the best around. 
Tiny the Inchworm
We could see people up on the summit of Craggy Pinnacle from where we were. Yes, of course, the kids wanted to go up there. 'Come on Mom, you can do it. We can handle a harder trail. We have time, let's go.' 
So back to the car, where a little friend awaited us. It has to be the tiniest inchworm I have seen.

Turns out he knew where Craggy Pinnacle was. 
Tiny the Inchworm is very familiar with the area, pointing to Craggy Pinnacle where we were headed.
'That way' he said. 'Right to the top of that hill, above those rocks.' So off we went. 
You do see the tiny inchworm on my youngest's finger, don't you?
Pointing his tiny body the direction we were to go?
And because we took a short break between hikes, I am giving you a short break. Tomorrow I will share the Craggy Pinnacle hike.

4 comments:

  1. beautiful. And so are your children. They look like good, nice young persons. Really.

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  2. I love your story, pictures & hike! love love it!! I cant wait to go out this year!

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  3. Lovely post....lovely family! You've done a fantastic job teaching them to enjoy the small things. They'll remember this day always!

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  4. Sounds like a lovey hike. You saw lots of cool stuff and loved all your commentary with the photos. Off to read what happened on your next hike.
    Valerie
    Everyday Inspired

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