We took a break from unpacking Saturday and took our friends Ronnie & Phil up on an invitation to go hiking at Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. The brochure says, "5,946 feet up on a mountain, you enter a different world" and it's so true. Its past peak fall leaf color season up there but there was still enough rusty red color on the trees to make the views spectacular!
We took the easy less than a mile hike up to the swinging bridge - not the one with the rock climbing and ladders. It was pretty far up for us southerners and very rocky as you can see from the photos. The kids loved it and even spotted some ice around the puddles at the top.
The mile high swinging bridge really was swinging in the wind, and because the boys were jumping up and down on it to make it wobble more. It's not bad as long as you don't look down. Whoa, dizzy! I even went across it thinking it led to the trail back down the mountain. Not the case! It doesn't really lead to anywhere because they closed the lookout past the bridge because people were getting too close to the edge and falling off the cliff. So you have to walk back across the bridge and back down the trail the way you came.
Even my boys were getting a little too close to the edge for my liking. They liked feeling tall up on the mountain and seeing over all the mountains so far away.
|My Rock Climbers|
|Always going opposite directions|
There's a little Animal Habitat where you can go view the local wildlife where they have animals that have been injured and cared for. The bears were fun to see up close. There's also a gift shop, museum with movie about the mountain, and a restaurant and fudge shop. We took a picnic and ate at one of the picnic tables near the beginning of the trail. It was a cold (about 45-55 degrees F) but beautiful day!
We love the mountains! My take on Grandfather Mountain is that it is a great place for families to visit if you plan to spend the day. It can be pricey at $18 per adult and $8 kids ages 4-12 but that pays for everything you do once inside the gates (except buying fudge and stuff). There is a lot to do there and you will want to take your time so you can enjoy the hiking trails and animals and such. If you live in the area and like to hike its probably worthwhile to buy and annual pass for $170 which includes admission for a carload of people for one year. Be sure to check the weather before you go, some attractions close when there is snow and ice. Dress in layers and wear good hiking shoes and THICK SOCKS! I was breaking in a new pair of boots when we went and my socks were too thin and made my ankles sore by the end of the day.
All in all it was a wonderful day. Thank you Ronnie & Phil for taking us on this great adventure! We love the mountains of North Carolina. It is amazing to see Gods awesome creation here.