Thursday, November 3, 2011

Up On Grandfather Mountain

Recently, Mom and I were able to get away for a few days and headed up into North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you are unfamiliar with the road, construction began in 1935 during the FDR administration and wasn't completed until the Reagan years in 1987. I know, that's what I was thinking, "Just exactly how long is that road?"

Well, it is 456 miles to be exact and travels through North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia through the Blue Ridge Mountains which are a part of the Appalachian Mountains. It's a two-lane road, mostly, that has a posted speed limit of 45 mph, numerous places to pull over and check out the views and different tourist attractions along the way.

One such attraction was Grandfather Mountain. The mountain features wildlife habitats, walking and hiking trails, picturesque views from the top of the mountain, and something I was particularly interested in, the mile-high swinging bridge. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

Wind swept tree up on the mountain

Nice view from the top

Warning sign for the bear sanctuary

Flower, the bear, held us captive for several moments as we watched her clown around.

My first closeup look at the swinging bridge.

Mom and I saying cheese and smiling broadly at the entrance to the bridge. Notice my windswept hairdo and mom's chattering teeth; it was cold.

My first step onto the bridge. No problems here. Never mind that the wind was gusting over 50 mph and I have a slight fear of heights. No worries at all....until I made it about halfway across and got nailed by a wind gust that was so big and loud that it took my scream away. I started to gasp, my head started spinning and then I started to hyperventilate. I took one look down and then I started to RUN. I made it across...barely.

Mom, who was slightly out of breath when I finally noticed her standing beside me, took one look at me and said, "Are you sick? You look green. Maybe, you need to sit down."

I agreed with her and sat down on a rock to get my senses back. The only thing I could thing of was how in the world was I ever going to get back across the mile-high swinging bridge. You'll notice there are no snapshots of either one of us midway across the bridge. I was surprised by my reaction. I'm not sure if it was the wind, the altitude or my Spam sandwich, but something about this experience wasn't agreeing with me.

After a few minutes I started to calm down. "I didn't think the height would bother me so bad," I told mom.

"I don't know about the height, but that wind gust 'bout blew me over the side. Did you take any pictures coming across?"

"No, I had my eyes closed for most of the way. That's what I'm going to do on the way back across, too, or they're going to have to take me outta here by helicopter."

This is the last picture that I took up on Grandfather Mountain. It was located halfway across the swinging bridge. Not too bad for having my eyes closed, huh?


Anonymous said...

You are a brave woman. There is no way short of gun point that you would get me to set foot on that thing.

Louise said...

Oh thats a great story! :)

I think you showed great courage just stepping on that bridge!

Ellen said...

I agree, you are so courageous! That's fabulous. Pictures are beautiful. I'm glad you got across.

Joeann said...

these are great photos, and tons of courage*wink*



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