Mother’s Day hike, 2011

which actually took place on Saturday, May 7 this year.  DH chose the profile trail of the Grandfather Mountain area.  The grandfather’s face here below was captured from a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook near the Linn Cove Viaduct.  Since the viaduct was specially constructed to minimize destruction of wildlife habitat on Grandfather Mountain, I must assume that this is some other grandfather.

grandfather's profile labeled

bearded old man mountain

The part of the Grandfather Mountain area where we were walking is known as the backcountry.  It has been acquired by the NC State Parks system and there is no charge to park and hike here. There is a shelter at the trailhead where hikers are required to fill out a form for a permit.

trailhead

Profile Trail Trailhead Shelter

We only hiked perhaps 3/4 mile, partially because we arrived late in the day, and partially because I had to stop so many times to take pictures, but mostly because we’re an out of shape bunch who can only hike straight up for so long. The part of the trail I saw was beautiful, and easily walkable, and so many flowers were in bloom.

wildflowers 1

these pretty blue ones were everywhere!

lots of these, and these:

wildflowers 2

little meadows full of these!

another shot of the blue ones:

wildflowers 3

so pretty!

and the only trillium I saw, which was missing a petal, which I guess makes it only a billium:

billium

a billium, I guess

perhaps it is late in the season for these at this altitude? But it was that pretty anyway, so I included the picture. This tree is valiantly clinging to the bank of the Watauga River, which has been trying to undercut it for who knows how long:

amazing perseverance

amazing perseverance

and this one was probably split by lightning. They are both wonderful examples of the amazing perseverance of nature.

still undefeated

still undefeated

a gossamer-winged damselfly sitting on a rock by the river:

damselfly

damselfly

this fallen tree with its silver bark and lichen encrustations is begging to be a yarn colorway, don’t you think?

lichen and silver

lichen and silver

and this stump with its fungus fans just has to be a fairy castle:

a fungus I can love

fairy castle

I’m loving this tradition of the Mother’s Day walk in the woods. I hope there are many more.

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Mother’s Day Mountain Hike

It was my daughter’s idea to take me to climb a mountain for Mother’s Day. It was also my 23rd wedding anniversary. This turns out to be an excellent idea, though it had many opportunities to fail. We got a late start from home, arrived at our hotel in the wee hours, and didn’t get much sleep, but I used my Mighty Bright Xtra Flex Super LED Light in the car (use a rav link to amazon if you want to buy one) and got a lot done on my loksins here, and on rav
loksins 25%

On Saturday we slept in a bit, then mosied up the Parkway, stopping at the Folk Art Center so DH could go in and see if the road was open ahead, since it had been closed for maintenance all winter. He came back to the car, the wife, girls, dogs, with his shoulders bent, head hanging and miserably mumbled “You have to come in, it’s Fiber Day till 4pm.” He’s the best DH ever. We petted sheep, and watched shearing. I saw unique spinning wheels including a great wheel, and a Dutch wheel that had a skeinwinder, distaff, and lazy kate right on it. I managed not to buy anything just to thank him.

So we got back in the car, cruised up the parkway to the parking area we had in mind. We meant to wander around Craggy Gardens. Instead, we blundered onto what was probably the Snowball Mountain Trail (8 miles round trip strenuous) and got probably 2 miles or so straight up the mountain before we decided that might be enough for an old guy with a heart attack and an asthmatic old knitter to do. I think the snowballs were not quite enough in bloom yet, but they looked pretty anyway.
snowball shrubs

I found three different varieties of trillium as well. This one at the foot of the trail,
trillium 3

This one halfway up,
trillium 2

and this one at the top.
trillium 1

This low marker was at the top too.
foot marker

I can figure out that USDI is United States Department of the Interior, and NPS is National Park Service, but if anybody knows what the rest means, please tell me.

This is what we looked like at the beginning of the hike (minus me who took the picture, and Merlin at my feet)
DH DD DD DM

I didn’t take a picture at the end, because we weren’t a pretty sight then. But there was one more treat in store for us–driving down the parkway on our way back to Asheville, right in front of us, a young bear nearly stepped into the road, paused, took a look at us, thought better of it and hightailed it back into the forest. I’ve been in those mountains so many times, and I’ve smelled bear before, but never seen one. And in broad daylight! The NC black bears are usually too shy to be seen by passersby. He must have been very inexperienced. We got a really good look at him. Close enough to see the alarm on his (or her) face!

On Sunday we shopped at the Grove Arcade. The girls created custom fragrances at Bath Junkie, and I of course, bought yarn.
trekking

I think there’s a pair of socks for DH in here somewhere. He certainly deserves them.

On the drive home, smack in front of us there was a glorious rainbow most of the way. I was too rapt to think to take a picture, but they never do justice to the real thing anyway. Use your imagination. And then we slept.