craggy gardens

yesterday jay and i had a day off together so we decided to do some outdoor things. good thing we got a semi-early start. we had some nice thunderstorms yesterday afternoon. we went north on the blue ridge parkway () and up to craggy gardens.

there is a forest fire in the linville gorge (which is about 75 miles from craggy.) so the air was slightly smoky and the view wasn't as nice as it could have been... but we still enjoyed our time out. it had lightly rained just before we got to craggy so the air smelled like rain instead of smoke. so come along on our short hike (about 0.7 miles up). it was steep at times, but not bad for a short hike.

we started up the path to craggy pinnacle. because of the elevation, the temperature was only about 56 degrees up there. the rhododendron is blooming so as we walked amidst its branches, we heard the faint and constant hum of the bumblebees enjoying sweet nectar.

one thing that is noticeable is that trees do not grow very tall up in the higher elevations. we passed some old birch trees that had been there for years, growing out of rocks. one had been blown down in the wind, but still continued to grow. only it grew sideways with its branches still reaching upwards for the sun.

we continued up and up the path, enjoying the glimpses of views along the way. there are lots of beautiful flowers to see on the way up to the pinnacle.

we made it to a fork in the road. we could choose the summit overlook or the lower overlook. jay had been told to check them both out, so we decided to continue our trek upwards to the summit overlook. at this point we could actually see the sky beyond the branches. it didn't take long to get to the summit... and despite the clounds and smoky fog, the views weren't bad at all.

ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES! (unless God starts them, like the one in linville gorge.)

after a few minutes and a breather at the top of the summit, we headed back down to the lower overlook. not as much to see down below, but i did find a flower growing in the middle of a rock. nature is just amazing!

we made our way back down and decided to drive up to mt. mitchell. it began to rain as we made our way up there so we didn't have a lot of photo opportunities. one we did have was at their little restaurant. they had a sign...

and here is the view. not much with the clouds and showers. but we aren't complaining b/c we really need the rain. it helped dissipate the smoky smell, too.

it really is quite beautiful here. we are enjoying our changing scenic views and a bit of a different lifestyle. things are just a little more laid back around here. it's a nice change. we are finally adjusted to the time change, i think. it is still weird that the news and everything comes on so late but you still have to get up just as early. i should be on nights in another week or so. work is going well. i am really enjoying learning new things. jay isn't loving his new work so much, but he has a few other options out there so we are staying optimistic. we close on the condo june 29th. yeah! i guess that is about it on our end. email and catch us up on you!