Our first course was a yogurt panna cotta with strawberry coulis and this was followed by a roasted red pepper quiche with sausage and a biscuit. This is a lot of trouble for breakfast and I appreciate it. Eating like this, you would think we both would have gained considerable weight during our trip. To the contrary, we both lost weight and when you see the Giant Stairmaster that we climbed later in the day, you will start to understand why we lost weight.
|Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis|
|Roasted Red Pepper Quiche, Biscuit, Sausage|
After a couple stops shopping to resupply and replace my busted flip flops, we got on the road for the quick 45-minute drive to Chimney Rock NC. Somehow our Garmin got confused and had us trying to make a right turn into the park several hundred yards beyond the entrance. Doing a quick U-turn finally let me see the astonishing view that Ann had been talking about since we entered the creek valley town. The camera flattens out perspective: Chimney Rock is way more impressive in person than it is in a photograph.
Although from the main drag, Chimney Rock and the surrounding cliffs seem so close, it's a mile on the park road before the entrance booth and another mile and a half up to the parking lot. Ann jokingly asked the friendly attendant at the entrance booth if they had an elevator to the top. The guy said that they had reduced the price of admission because the elevator was out of service. I thought he was kidding until I saw the sign on the window stating "Elevator out of service." Who knew?
As we wound up the switchbacks to the parking lot below the 315-foot high granite monolith, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk dove out of the trees and swooped from right to left in front of us after something on the ground on the left margin of the road. Because we were rounding a switchback, there was no way to look back to see what it was after or even if it was successful.
|315-Foot Chimney Rock from Parking Lot|
|Trees Grow in the Craziest Places|
|View Headed up to Chimney Rock|
|Carolina Rhododendron All Over the Park|
I came across a small tree, called the White Fringe Tree, Chionanthus virginicus, with which I am not familiar. Perhaps I have just never encountered it in bloom, but for whatever reason, it has never entered my lexicon of native flora.
|White Fringe Tree|
|Annie Taking in the View Atop Chimney Rock|
|These Mounting Clouds are a Sign of Things to Come|
|The Flag Atop Chimney Rock|
|There's This Much More Above Chimney Rock|
|Love the Interplay of Rock and Trees|
|Hundreds and Hundreds of Steps; Headed Down Now|
|False Solomon's Seal|
|Black-Throated Green Warbler Gathering Nesting Materials|
|404-Foot Hickory Nut Falls|
|My Nut in the Water|
|Dwarf Crested Iris|
|Pink Carolina Rhododendron|
|Just Outside the Entrance to the Park|
|Never Seen Burger Toppings on Top of the Bun Before|
|Just Awesome After a Long Hike|