I just returned from my trip to the mountains of Western North Carolina. We camped out on our land in our little blue teardrop trailer and we spent a lot of time with my sister and brother-in-law, who have an adorable cottage just over the ridge from our land. We could only escape from the Florida heat for about five days, but they were delightful days.
I think everyone in our party would agree that the best day was the one we spent on the Blue Ridge Parkway. My sister packed a picnic lunch in a real picnic basket. She actually made the bread for the sandwiches. There was even a checked tablecloth that used to belong to our mother. It was a perfect picnic and we went up to the Parkway to find a perfect place to enjoy it.
Our first stop was Mt. Mitchell. Mt. Mitchell is the tallest peak in the eastern United States and we never go to North Carolina without making the climb to the summit. A sign at the visitor center told us not to worry about the bugs, that they might look like ticks, but they were harmless weevils. We wondered if we would see any of these weevils, but we couldn’t miss them. The observation tower at the top of Mt. Mitchell was crawling with them. They were on the benches and on the railings and all over the signs that pointed out the various other mountains you can see from Mt. Mitchell.
Some days, all you can see from the top of Mt. Mitchell is fog, but this was not one of those days.
We spent some time admiring this view and then we went back to the Parkway and drove to the Craggy Gardens Picnic Area, which was a perfectly beautiful spot for an outdoor meal. We found a table in the shade and enjoyed sandwiches, chips and fresh fruit. My sister brought hot water in a Thermos so we could have coffee and tea with our meal.
We lingered over lunch and then we put our picnic things in the car and headed for the trail to Craggy Flats. We had been to Craggy Flats before but we had always used the shorter trail from the visitor’s center. This trail was a bit more challenging, so we took our time and rested here and there along the way. The view at the top was definitely worth the hike.
We also enjoyed the long grass, the tiny wildflowers and the gnarled trees, which were so climbable even we older folks could not resist.
No, I did not do any painting while I was up there, but I sure did some wonderful breathing.