The allure of the mountains of NC is boundless. My first visit mere weeks ago left me captivated, so much so that I ventured once again to this illustrious landscape.
If you happen to find yourself drawn to these mountains as I have, do yourself a favor and find a peak to view the sunset AND the sunrise from. It may steal moments from your beauty sleep but God will return that beauty to you ten-fold atop that mountain! While I don’t think you can go wrong with whatever peak has drawn your heart to but I highly recommend two locations for your viewing pleasure:
The trailhead is about 35 min north of Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’re going to want to head up the .7 mile trail about an hour before sunset. It’s a relatively short, moderate trail and the view is perfect as the sun begins its descent behind the surrounding mountains. There’s a generous helping of stable rocks and benches to perch yourself upon. The panoramic view is breathtaking and the perfect backdrop for the picnic you should bring along. You may run into the occasional high schooler seeking a bit different connection with nature along the way but that will hardly detract from a sky so golden it would make King Midas jealous!
Sunrise: Mt Mitchell Peak
Nestled behind the gates of the Mt Mitchell State Park gates is the very accessible Mt Mitchell Observation Tower. You can drive to the base of the 280 yd paved trail to the peak. The only catch is that the gates to the park don’t open until 7 am. To catch the sunrise you’ll need to either hike the 3-mile road to the top or camp in the park campground, which will cut that hike down to less than a mile. As the highest peak east of the Mississippi, on a clear morning you can see for miles. The bonus of having the gates closed until 7 am is that your only companions will be the early birds vying for that worm and any other overly ambitious morning people. If you can muster the motivation to get up early and hike a mile, then this view can’t be beat!
Accompanying these gorgeous mountains is a town full of quirky artists as enamored with them as I am. I dipped back into Asheville for lunch and found myself sitting amongst Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson sipping on Champagne! The Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar is on the end of the Grove Arcade in Asheville. You can relax on the oversized leather couches after you’ve selected one of the many books from the endless shelves to peruse while you munch on a platter of cheese and fruit. I’m convinced that champagne is the happiest drink out there. It’s so overwhelmed by its happiness that it can’t contain it to the point that it results in an audible POP! upon opening. Overflowing happiness that tickles your throat as it bubbles up into your eyes until you yourself are overwhelmed alike! What a delightful way to spend an afternoon!
On my long drive home I reflected on all that I had seen. The ability of God to produce such beauty in an ending only to turn around every morning and provide an even more amazing beginning to each day is truly awe inspiring! For anyone struggling with whatever challenges have been placed on your shoulders, take hope in that. To begin anew there must first be an ending. Trust in God’s ability to give you something even more amazing!
My photos can never do his work justice. I am only blessed with the ability to go and see it. To see more of what I have seen check out the PhotoBox below!
Until our next encounter, my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains…
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