We met some good friends of ours this past weekend in the mountains. Overall, the trees were beginning to show their brilliant colors, but some individual trees were absolutely gorgeous! I love the mountains, and I love fall! I love everything associated with fall: cozy fires, hazelnut coffee, smell of burning leaves, cool, crisp nights, curvy mountain roads with falling leaves, pumpkins, family gatherings, and fall desserts!!
On Friday, we ventured to Chimney Rock State Park. We’ve driven by it dozens of times, but have never taken time to stop and spend the day there. All nine of us, from age 4 to 40-something, hiked two of the trails. We began with the Skyline Trail, labeled “moderate to strenuous.” Let’s just say I’m glad we started with this trail! It was only .7 miles round trip, however, it was straight up flight after flight of stairs. The kids lost count at 800-something steps! All that climbing was worth it, though, when we reached the Rock displaying the American Flag and the highest lookout at Exclamation Point. We had awesome views of Lake Lure and the surrounding mountains. We descended the stairs to the Chimney Rock level and took the elevator down through 26 stories of blasted rock!
We found a picnic spot and ate the lunch we had packed. My friend, Karie, shared with us Nutella, which I had never bought before. It’s a hazelnut cocoa spread. We dipped pretzels in it for a delicious dessert! Okay, now I’m addicted to the stuff!
After lunch, we hiked the Hickory Nut Falls Trail. The brochure describes “the reward for hiking this trail is standing below all 404 feet and feeling the mist of the waterfall.” I was super excited to get to view this natural wonder, featured in the 1992 remake of “The Last of the Mohicans.” My excitement was soon dashed (slightly) upon viewing the falls, which actually was more like a trickle! Maybe with lots of rainfall, the water fall is more full, but we certainly felt no mist! We beat the crowd to this spot and ventured onto the rocks for photo ops.
We (the adults) were thoroughly exhausted, but the kids kept going strong into the evening…I’d love to harness some of that energy! When we got back to our little mountain house, I laid down for a nap, but was soon interrupted by voices yelling to get my camera. The guys had taken the kids to walk and play around the grounds and found a gorgeous tree where the sunlight was just perfect for pictures. After several snapshots, we headed back for dinner. We ended our evening at the amphitheater with a series of short skits by the five children. They made us laugh with their antics!
On Saturday, we headed to Sky Top Apple Orchard. We enjoyed apple cider donuts, samples of apples, roaming through the Bamboo Forest, feeding apples to the goats and sheep, and of course, taking pictures! I bought some delicious Asian pears! We went to Hubba Hubba’s BBQ for lunch…yum, yum, then visited The Wrinkled Egg, my favorite gift shop!!
After packing and cleaning the house, we headed to Jump Off Rock on Laurel Park Highway, near downtown Hendersonville. It offered a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and more hiking trails, one of which we hiked.