Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Friendly Mountain

At the beginning of July, my daughter & I made a trek to western NC to attend the annual gathering of Scottish Clans at the Grandfather Mtn. Highland Games, held at McRae Meadows at the foot of the mountain. We had a wonderful time, although it was way too short. We only had a few hours to catch the music, dancing competitions and vendor tents. Next year we’ll plan to spend an extra night.

Wee one with her new "pet" ...a stuffed Yorkie that looked so real, passerbys kept adoring it

Chance led us to arrive at the festival just in time to hear my favorite Scottish band, Albannach, perform! Their raw, almost tribal sound of drums and pipe are worth the 500 mile trek alone.

Jacquie, of Albannach, below

Aya, to the right

Aya, Colin and Jamesie, of Albannach

The following day we traveled to the top of Grandfather Mountain, well...at least, as far as the road will take you to the Visitor’s Center on top. The mountain is 5,956 feet above sea level with an absolutely breath-taking view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. If you look to the south, toward Tablerock Mtn., you’ll note the area where the closing scene in the “Last of the Mohicans” was shot.

Cougar and River Otter @ the wildlife habitat

The River Otter was playing with a chunk of ice, probably containing bits of fish

Grandfather Mountain has been named one of the world’s Biosphere Reserves by the United Nations. This exclusive international family includes only 553 reserves around the globe. This diverse region, surprisingly, supports 73 rare and endangered species and at least 200 species of birds have been found to make their home here. A birder’s paradise! (Black Bear @ the wildlife habitat below)

Ah, this place inspired me and my photos hardly do it justice as I didn’t take the time to set up and create any landscape images; there was just too much to do and see and we wanted to experience it all. It is the place that John Muir once wrote about ...after ascending the summit of Grandfather Mountain, “I couldn’t hold in, and began to jump about and sing and glory in it all”

Glory in it all, indeed! We like to visit the eastern shore, too. But while the sand and surf lends itself to feelings of peace and serenity, mountains seem to have the opposite effect; making my adrenaline surge and creative juices flow... breathtaking, exhilarating and a bit nerve-tingling, as we drove back down the mountain. These feelings are the hallmark of my visit to western North Carolina.

The only “bump-in-the-road” , as my friend, Liz would say, occurred while we were at the restaurant and nature museum atop Grandfather Mtn. I noticed my driver’s side rear tire was going flat. Ugh. Since it was just the two of us traveling, and because I don’t have much confidence in changing a flat (just WHERE is my spare located, again?) I did the next best thing I could. I sought out a friendly face of one of North Carolina’s finest.

The lady State Trooper followed me out to my van, followed by a member of the mountain’s maintenance crew (unfortunately I didn’t learn their names) and together, they spent about 25 minutes with me, asking how our vacation was going, if we enjoyed the Highland Games, if I knew the number to call Highway Patrol while on the road...along with various other road-care tips and the locations of service centers on the route home in case I needed to buy a new tire.

They were most generous and friendly; I felt fortunate for the opportunity to meet them. Next, they filled my tire with air and told me the location of their maintenance garage. The good-natured crew said if I would stop by on our way out, they would gladly check my tire again and add more air if needed.

I’m happy to report that we made it home without further trouble and I soon had the tire repaired; we’re ready for our next road trip!

Praise God for creation that sings of His glory; Praise Him for helping hands!


Clayton said...

Absolutely wonderful Amy!
Good experiences follow the good heart!

elizabeth said...

Wow; what a trip you had! beautiful!

Unknown said...

This is amazing, it sounds so wonderful and joyous...I get a lot of out trips like this too, to just feel and be with nature and the love of God like that...thank you for sharing this and your pictures!!!


margaret said...

North Carolina is on my list of places to go - the coastline seems like a dream. Your photos are great as always.

Tess Kincaid said...

I've been to several Highland Games here in the Midwest. Such a fun connection to our past. You know I always love to feel my DNA tingle!

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