Another beautiful afternoon at the lake, on a brisk cool day….
“I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets.” – Hamlin Garland
“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” – The Buddha
Sometimes a path is a beautiful day—hiking a trail that leads to a destination of longing and discovery.
One of my favorite places to hike in South Carolina is the Pinnacle Trail. It is located in the Blue Ridge Foothills. I came across this rock structure on the hike and fell in love with it. It has the stern look of a man grazing out beyond the ridge.
Here is a summary of the trail.
It is six miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2673 feet. It has a rating of strenuous and takes about 4 hours to complete.
The first 0.2 miles is a relatively
flat, paved path that parallels a creek. Small cascades and pools are easily
accessible from the trail. After the pavement ends, follow the trail signs for
the Pinnacle Mtn. trail.
The trail is in fair shape most of the way.
There is significant erosion in a few places and parts of the trail can be quite
At about the 2.5 mile mark is the Bald Rock Overlook where you can
look back towards Table Rock Mtn. The summit is marked by a sign and a pile of
rocks but you’re in the middle of a forest with no view. Return the way you came
or continue on the Ridge Trail that connects the Pinnacle Mountain and Table
This trail is rather remote at times. I was hiking it alone and felt a need to see someone on the trail.
One of the best places to road bike is along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The BRP stretches for hundreds of miles (approximately 470) through North Carolina and Virginia. It is one of the most beautiful scenic rides in the country. The parkway follows the Appalachian Mountain chain. From Shenandoah National Park the parkway follows the Blue Ridge, eastern rampart of the Appalachians. It then skirts the southern end of the massive Black Mountains, named for the dark green spruce and fir that cover them. Then it weaves through the Craggies, the Pisgahs, the Balsams to end up in the Great Smokies. I had the pleasure of staying at the famous Pisgah Inn located on the southern end of the parkway, at Mount Pisgah about 30 miles from Asheville, NC. You can marvel at the forest-clad mountain peaks, mist filled coves, and the slopes of fragrant balsams, rhododendrons, mountain laurel and flame azalea. It was a great week of biking, hiking (Graveyard fields to the Upper Falls), art galleries (Blue Spiral and galleries in the River Arts District), independent films (La Vie En Rose, the story of French singer Edith Piaf) and fine dining (organic, Thai and Indian). But I must say that for a spectacular view, and good food, the restaurant at the Pisgah Inn with its panoramic view overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains is unsurpassed. And finally, a perfect end to an evening is sitting on your private back porch watching the sun set beyond the mountains.
In 2002 I moved from Philadelphia to South Carolina. It was a time for a deliberate and conscious change. The beautiful natural landscapes of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia all provided a sharp contrast to the harsh urban decay of what was becoming, in some parts, the City of Philadelphia. It was a very positive move for me, and I immediately embarked on a journey to rediscover some important sustaining elements of my life i.e. Mind, Body, Creativity and Spirit. I call them my Four Jewels. The very first thing I did when I arrived was go up into the mountains. I hiked, explored and found beauty, space and peace. Hiking as an adventure has a wonderful aspect to it, that is physical, emotional and exploratory. Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina is home of the Mile High Swinging Bridge and various trails. It is one of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi. While walking along the bridge, above the beautiful gorge below, one can begin the journey of self discovery. And in doing so, find a subtle, yet profound emergence of the meaning of man and nature as one.