A comment was heard the other day on the trailhead: “A day this gorgeous in November is a gift”. A gift, indeed! We have been blessed on this journey in just this way, so many times. As readers of this blog well know, we were waylaid in New York for two weeks by a blown head gasket. Two weeks worth of ever-colder weather in November could have easily meant that our trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina could have been darker and winter-y. But, instead, the days have been breathtakingly beautiful.
Friday was such a day, sunny and mild. Cold in the morning with a shining glaze of icy white frosting on grass and leaves, the crispness wilting in the rising sun. Until late afternoon when the sun retired behind towering mountains, the gentle air gave just the barest hint of the steel grip of winter soon to come.
It’s true – the leaves, with their riot of color, are gone. The showy drama may be over, but what remains is beautiful, too. Brown and gray trees stand in relief, their branches intricate against the bright blue sky. Round a corner and you come upon the surprise of rich brown oak leaves, deep green pine needles and Christmas ferns, soft tan seed pods exploding and chartreuse mats of moss with their companion lichens in fairy-tale shapes.
Friday was a day made for a hike. We had our friend, Marshall, with us. Marshall currently lives in Wilmington on the North Carolina seashore but drove west to meet us in Greensboro. From the Blue Ridge Parkway, we hiked 2-3 miles up the Shut In Trail to another trailhead leading to a 1.5 mile hike to the top of Mt Pisgah.
We love to mountain bike, but one of the great things we’ve found about hiking is that great conversations can be had. Well, when you’re not gasping for breath as I seem to do a lot! We hadn’t seen Marshall for seven years so we had a lot of catching up to do. He was Best Man at our wedding fourteen years ago but we had lost touch. Sure, there was the occasional phone call but we hadn’t been in each others’ company for quite a while.
David has said that Marshall is one of the most easily lovable people that he has ever met and I concur. Marshall bravely agreed to be our guest in the Tramper and spent two nights in our spare bed while traveling with us. So much fun was had! Lots of laughing…
We all wanted to see the
Museum of the Cherokee Indian in (where else) Cherokee, NC but we needed dinner and a good night’s sleep first so we threw our weary bodies into the 4Runner and found the Fort Wilderness RV Park, not far from the lavish, enormous Harrah’s Casino on the Cherokee Reservation.