Weeks ago on our short trip to Asheville I was trying to decide on a hike to go on. My decision ended up being pretty easy when I read about one that mentioned the possibility of seeing some cows at the top of Bearwallow mountain.
We took the 30 minute drive to Bearwallow mountain from Asheville, which ended up being another fun trail at the end of a tiny gravel road. Although at first we weren’t really sure where to find the trail once we parked. We eventually climbed around this fence and found the trail a little ways behind it. Strange!
It was a lovely hike through the lush forest. Almost entirely uphill, but it wasn’t too bad; just a little less than a mile to the top!
The view was great. But even more great is that there wasn’t just a couple cows like I was hoping for, there was a whole herd!!
The cows were so cute and pretty friendly. This was definitely one of the best hikes ever.
I love discovering new places on the blue ridge parkway. Some places are a long and difficult hike to get to, others are just a quick walk down some wooden stairs.
The quick walk down the wooden stairs at Graveyard Fields led to a peaceful rocky stream. I would have liked to stay here and wander around in the shallow water, but as this had been a quick little 24 hour trip to Asheville to see a concert, I hadn’t packed the right clothes for playing in a river!
The goal was to hike to the big upper falls of Graveyard Fields, but we got turned around and ended up back in the parking lot!
The story of that adventure is here.
Somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a little south of Asheville, is a meadow called Graveyard Fields.
There isn’t a gravestone in sight though.
The name came from a vast amount of trees that had been snapped in half during a violent storm and then resembled graves.
But that was many many years ago.
The trees have returned.
Much of the path though the woods is led by a winding wooden boardwalk. Other parts are more like semi dried up mudslides that forced us to make our own little side paths to avoid getting trapped in the mud.
It was a sunny day, after rain had been falling for weeks, but dark clouds were still swirling around the skies. A reminder that the storms weren’t over yet.
We continued down the scenic trail hoping to reach the upper waterfall, but the signs were not marked well and somehow we ended up back at the parking lot without ever seeing the big waterfall.
Along the trail these little red blooms caught my eye. They had sprouted up from some lichens growing on a rock. I’ve never seen lichens bloom before so it was an exciting find!
Graveyard Fields is now at the top of my “Favorite Places on the Blue Ridge” list.
During the dive away from the Grand Canyon, towards northern Arizona, the landscape grew more and more like nothing I had ever seen.
Around every curve was an entire new world. It was a valley, with sharp red cliffs rising up to the sky. Then around just another curve, the road was on the top of a mountain, looking out over a flat golden plateau. Snow capped mountains stood in the distance.
It felt like another planet. Like Mars.
Every so often was a house, or a trailer, or what could be considered a minuscule town. But mostly, there was no sign of civilization.
The farther the drive, the more alien the landscape looked. Eventually the curvy desert roads led to this bridge. Red mountains surrounded the area, while the bright blue Colorado river flowed beneath the bridge, heading towards the Grand Canyon.
The goal was to reach Monument Valley by dusk, so not much time could be spent in this foreign place. But it stands out in my mind as one of my favorite areas of Arizona.
I hope to one day return.
Flying back from Houston, the plane took a detour to go around an enormous lightning storm.
The detour meant I got to fly over the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was my third time flying, and the first time ever seeing mountains from a plane, so with my face pressed right up against the glass I started snapping 100s of pictures like a maniac.
The beautiful landscape distracted me from the turbulent ride as we circled the storm.
This mountain range feels enormous and never ending when you’re on the ground in the middle of them. But from the sky, they are just some fleeting ripples in the ground.