Mini-Vacation: Atlanta and Maggie Valley

After the almost single minded focus on the November election with it’s exciting conclusion, it was time for a getaway.

First stop: Atlanta and a quick visit with Andrew and Jon.

And Tela and Wilson, too.

We attended the Virginia Tech / Georgia Tech football game (my team lost …) but we also enjoyed site seeing, a little shopping (a very little), and lots of good food and drink.  Surprisingly, I didn’t take many photos, but I was pretty happy with the few shots that I did take.

After leaving Georgia, I hit the road for Maggie Valley.  Set in the mountains of North Carolina, the town is situated near the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

We enjoyed visiting the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum

and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

It was wonderful to have unplanned time to explore without a specific agenda,

and to enjoy the beauty of nature’s gifts.

Happiness!

A”maze”ing Channels

We knew that we’d have a great hike and incredible views when we visited The Channels Natural Area Preserve, and we even knew that there would be some interesting sandstone formations to explore.  What we didn’t know was just how very cool those formations would be.  We simply could not help ourselves and kept exclaiming out loud with every turn.  As Karen said, the place brought out the inner child in all of us.

According to several online sources, the sandstone outcroppings were formed 400 million years ago.

Geologists conclude that the Channels were likely formed while the high elevation sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging during the last ice age.

 The expanding ice fractured the sandstone and water slowly spread and smoothed the breaks over millions of years.

“What is left is a labyrinth of slots and crevices through the rocks. The pathways range from 20 to nearly 40 feet deep and wind their way through damp, moss-covered walls of stone” (https://virginiatrailguide.com/2016/10/23/great-channels).

Aren’t the colors incredible?

Check out the way these tree roots are stretching for moisture,

and the ferns growing amidst the cracks in the rocks.

We laughed and exclaimed and explored and were utterly happy with the experience.

For more information about The Channels, visit the previous two posts.

The Channels

If you’ve visited  The Unassuming Hiker this week, you have already been introduced to The Channels, a gorgeous, 721 acre natural preserve in Southwest Virginia.  The Channels Natural Area Preserve is part of a 4,836 acre State Forest that was purchased by the Department of Forestry from The Nature Conservancy in March 2008.  The preserve name is derived from the maze-like system of sandstone crevices and boulders that occur near the 4208ft. summit of Middle Knob on Clinch mountain.

With good friends along for the ride, the 2 hour drive to the trailhead was over before we knew it.  The last 30 minutes will offer an excellent ride when next I return on the bike.  Lots of curves and twisties to thrill a bikers heart!

The 3 mile hike to the top was through a lush, green forest that offered plenty of shade on this sunny, breezy day.

Once on the top, we had views that stretched for miles!  We just could not stop exclaiming about how fortunate we were to be there.

I swear, I want to be a hawk (well, except for their diet).  I want to soar!

Even though it is only early September, the color change has begun.

We were 4 very happy women: Fresh air, exercise, incredible views, and lots of places to explore.

Big thanks to Karen for offering weekend hikes for those who can’t make it during the week.

As you might guess, I took a zillion photos.  The next post will show images of the fire tower (which, or course, I wanted to climb), and the one after that will be about the sandstone channels that, when we explored them, brought out the kid in all of us.

Sailing Along

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What a blessing it is to be surrounded by family and friends; to have good health, a steady income, and lots of civic commitment; to live amidst and enjoy nature’s beauty.

As I sail along through life’s goodness and challenges, I have not forgotten Life on the Bike and my WordPress friends.

See you this coming weekend!

A Lovely Distraction

Good Morning, or Evening, as the case may be! Before I prepare to head off for a day on the motorcycle, I wanted to share this post from my dear friend Karen, over at The Unassuming Hiker.  Karen has started a Hiking Club for Women, and she planned a Saturday hike for those who can’t make it during the week.  We spent a wonderful day at Carvins Cove.  Check out her post for more info!

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The Unassuming Hiker

A week from now it will be over, but I know it is going to be an amazing weekend watching my only child get married.  Today, I surrounded myself with good friends for a much needed distraction and to help me celebrate the week before the big day.

It started with a hike (surprise, surprise) to a place I had not been before, Carvin’s Cove.

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Hiking with the wedding photographer guaranteed a couple of good pictures!

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We got an early start and the weather was perfect.  Did not see any bears even though there had been a 500 pound black bear in the parking lot last weekend.  A bear that was not afraid of people.  As we arrived we were told that we had just missed seeing the bear by about 30 minutes.  We were fascinated by this until we heard the same story upon our return and realized they…

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Deerfield Valley

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This gorgeous meadow is in a place called Deerfield, Virginia. I’d never been here before and I was taken aback by the beauty.  I cannot wait to return on the bike.

I’ve returned from a three day trip, for business and pleasure, to four different localities around Virginia.  Visits with my parents, and with friends, were wonderful, and the day long meeting, productive.

I look forward to popping over to your place for a visit later in the week.

Pilot Mountain

On the way home from a weekend in Greensboro, NC, I made a quick stop at Pilot Mountain State Park.

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I’d driven by this natural landmark hundreds of times, but had never stopped.  Despite the chilly temps and overcast sky, it was a nice way to recognize the Spring Equinox.

“Rising abruptly more than 2,000 feet, Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries”.

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Pilot Mountain is capped by two prominent pinnacles.  Big Pinnacle, with walls of bare rock and a rounded top covered by vegetation, rises 1,400 feet above the valley floor, the knob jutting skyward more than 200 feet from its base.

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The mountain is a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Mountains.  To the native Saura Indians, the earliest known inhabitants of the region, Pilot Mountain was known as Jomeokee, the “Great Guide” or “Pilot.” It guided both Native Americans and early European hunters along a north-south path through the area.

The Redbuds are blooming!  Visit these links if you’d like to see more images of the beautiful purple / pink blooms that are some of the first signs of spring.

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The views were limited, yet still enchanting, on such an overcast day.

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The park offers miles of trails, camping, and climbing, and since it’s only an hour and a half from home, I’m thinking it will make for an excellent destination for a spring bike ride.

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Happy Spring Equinox!

Two weekends in a row spent traveling, bracketing full days in the office, leaves very little time for catching up with life, chores, and WordPress.  I miss checking in on all of you and hearing about the interesting things that you are up to, and I’m hopeful that I’ll find some time this week to visit.