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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Walking on Wednesday - I'm On Top of the World Part 2 - Craggy Pinnacle

Yesterday, I talked about Craggy Gardens (read it here), right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 9 miles from our house. It was beautiful, and we met some great hikers and Tiny the Inchworm. They told us about the Craggy Pinnacle Hike and we were on our way there when I left off. Tiny was pointing the way. He joined us in the car for the ride to the parking area.
Tiny the Inchworm pointing to Craggy Pinnacle, the pointy mountain in the background.
We drove through Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel, one of the shorter tunnels on the parkway. I couldn't take a picture while driving, and didn't think about stopping to take a picture at that time, still resting from the previous hike and thinking about the hike to come. I now wish I had, but I was lucky enough to find this picture, just where we drove, on Flickr.com. 
Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel via Mike_tn on Flickr.com
Once we got to the parking area, Tiny the Inchworm was left at his new home in one of the bushes, and we turned out attention to the path ahead.
Seven tenths of a mile. That doesn't sound too bad does it?
Seven tenths of a mile sounds pretty do-able. Especially knowing you end up at the summit of a mountain. Our elevation when we started, right off the parking lot, was 5640'  Looking across the way, Craggy Dome seemed to tower above us, at 6,085'.
At an even higher elevation, Craggy Dome is fits it's name perfectly.
It was interesting to see the patch of pine trees on the side of Craggy Dome. We hadn't seen pine trees on our hike until this point.
'Climb the Short set of steps....'
On to the trail to Craggy Pinnacle. The guide I read says to 'climb the short set of steps to a pleasant grassy area'. I guess 'short' means different things to different people. Like, this is short to someone who starts here, but long to someone who just hiked almost a mile and a half ten minutes ago. 
The 'pleasant grassy area' with a huge tree laying in it.
We took advantage of the 'pleasant grassy area' for a quick break, or  I should say the kids took a break waiting for me. 
More steps. 
It's a good thing we took a short break, because it seems this hike was nothing but steps, with one or two occasional grassy areas. The guide I read said it 'climbs moderately', so apparently a 250 foot elevation gain in seven tenths of a mile is moderate. I wonder what 'strenuous' climbs are like.
A more formal natural spring.
Along the path was this interesting cement box that seemed to try to house some natural spring. From the looks of it, the water has been traveling over the concrete for quite some time as it has worn down a path right there in the concrete.
Tannin on top of the world.
We came across this rock formation that stuck out from the mountain a little, and of course the kids though it would be cool to go to the edge to look. 
Paige on top of the world.
I was not so brave. I stayed on the path. I was quite happy with the view from here. I love how you can see the road twisting and turning there in the distance.
View from the lower overlook at Craggy Pinnacle
It turns out that wasn't the official lower overlook. Luckily, the overlooks are well marked with rock walls, and even benches to sit on and enjoy the views.
View of the Upper Overlook from the Lower Overlook. 
We still had to make it to the top of Craggy Pinnacle. From the lower overlook, it seemed a long way off, because we had to go around it from here, going up the whole way.
Leaves you speechless. A great place to sit and take the world in.
Once we reached the top, there really wasn't much to say. The views really are awesome, the air really is fresh, and it is surprisingly and wonderfully quiet. There really isn't much to do but just sit and take it all in. At 5,892' elevation, words don't mean much compared to the views.
View of the Craggy Gardens visitor center.
This view shows where we had been on the hike before this. The Craggy Garden Visitor's Center and parking lot, and you can barely make out the path going across the side of the mountain, Craggy Knob I believe. That is the trail we had just hiked. A sense of accomplishment came over me. It looked like we walked a long way, and that isn't the entire trail.
The North Fork Reservoir - Asheville' water source
The other side of the mountain, now pointing to the south-east, showed us the Asheville Watershed area and the reservoir where Asheville gets its water. 
Rock Art #1
The trip wouldn't have been complete without injecting some art into it would it? We can't take credit for this rock sculpture, nor would I even venture out there, or let the kids out there to attempt such a thing. But we all appreciated the creativity of the brave soul that left it there.
Rock Art #2
If one pile of rocks was good, two piles of rock is better. Not as tall as the one pile, but just as daring a location. The views - both stunning. A perfect way to end the day, with rock sculptures. (If you don't remember, our family has a 'thing' for rocks.) 

By this time we all were a little tired. Thank goodness the way back was down hill. We got in the car and headed home, not stopping at either of the two overlooks we passed on the way vowing to stop on the way home. Almost 3 miles of hiking in a day, nearly half of which was uphill, was enough to make the couch very appealing. 

The Rhododendron bushes will be in full bloom in a few months, and we already have plans to go back then. These trails cut through the beautiful pink and purple blooms of the Catawba rhododendron which cover this "bald".
View of Craggy Dome from about halfway up the Craggy Pinnacle trail. The trail switches back around a large rock outcrop, with a small "cave" underneath it. This is the view back down the trail from on top of the rock, during mid June when the rhododendron was blooming. (From hikewnc.com)
We are already talking about the next new hike too. Requests are for a more difficult hike with a waterfall. I better keep up my walking everyday

That is the beauty of living here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nature calls you out to experience the world in a way you are not accustomed to. It rewards your efforts with calm, quiet beauty, fresh air, and giving you the feeling you are part of something wonderful, you are on top of the world, and it is just awesome.

6 comments:

  1. Again Rebecca.... just beautiful! Love the story & the pix. I know one day we'll get to travel the country again. I now see where we need to make a stop for sure!

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  2. Love those pictures Rebecca, I used to live in Va, Winchester, always loved when we took a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway, simply beautiful. However, I have a horrid fear of heights, and when I looked at the pictures of your kids on the rocks, my stomach turned, LOL. You can laugh, anytime I see people on rocks that happens to me. It's a subconscious thing. I do it with bridges too. How lucky you are to be able to do that! Thanks for sharing!

    http://paintingbyeileen.blogspot.com/

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  3. Great posts with wonderful pictures! So glad you got out, and weren't scared to go for a second hike right after the first! Good for you!
    I used to live in WV near the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I only wish I could have gotten out there more - the view of rolling hills stretching out into the distance will always be breathtaking.
    ~Sunfire

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  4. Just beautiful! Sounds like you and your kids has a great day.
    Valerie
    Everyday Inspired

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  5. What a great blog! Just found you via About.com - I'm so going to follow this blog, you have wonderful pictures. Love the writing style. Thanks for the great posts. I'll be back often.

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  6. Hi Martiel! Welcome, I am so glad you found me. :)

    Thank you all for the comments, yes we had a great day, and I really feel lucky to live in this area so we can to these things that people travel to do from all over the country.

    Soon, I want to do a mountain mosaic....
    :)

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