We got to last Saturday.
|View from Craggy Pinnacle|
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, 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|
|Picnic Bench?? No...but still a welcome sight.|
|Trio of Craggy Trees|
|Exploring in the Mountains|
|You Never Outgrow Climbing Trees|
|Hanging Around at Craggy Gardens|
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.
It wasn't bad at first.
But the trail kept going, uphill.
And going and going uphill. The kids sometimes had to stop and wait for me.
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|
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.