I thought Arizona would be flat, and mostly brown.
I was wrong.
We woke up early to begin the long drive to Tucson from Holbrook. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I thought the landscape wouldn’t be very interesting.
Around an hour into the drive is when we learned that Arizona has mountains. Really tall mountains.
The mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like little hills in comparison.
We drove up and down these huge mountains. Through the snowstorm at the top, then back down to calmer weather and then back up again into the snow.
It definitely was not the boring drive I was afraid of.
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.