A Cold Spring Morning Near Lake Lure
With a 41 degree temperature, no clouds, and low humidity, this morning’s sunrise was as bright as it gets. It’s the exact sunrise that you would see on August 9th, the peak of summer heat.
The dogs and I hiked halfway up Brushy Top Mountain to the construction site of a new log home. Otter Creek Valley was so green looking due south. I’m standing on the highest place you’ll find until you reach the mountains of Panama in Central America. This is the very edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
On the trek up the mountain I encountered my first Pink Lady’s Slipper since moving here five years ago. It’s a wild orchid that blooms in late July in Canada, but has a head start by being so far south.
Head on, a face seems to peer from underneath the hood.
Just above the log construction, I found the very first Blackberry blossoms of spring. The mountain folk believe that you can’t plant any crops until you see the first Blackberry blooms, so I guess winter is officially over.
Growing around the Blackberry vine was the first blooming Mountain Laurel I’ve seen this spring. Strange that both plants would choose the exact same spot to lead the way for the millions more that will soon follow.
On Wednesday morning, I found the first Pink Trillium blossoms that I’ve ever seen in person. Maybe there are many more new discoveries just waiting to be found.
On the same walk I encountered this yellow wildflower meadow along Otter Creek.
Thursday morning found the valley covered with a cold fog.
Otter Creek Pond was so quiet as the Sun tried to break through. Pine tree pollen covered the still water, making swirling patterns on the surface.
An early morning drive to Lake Lure yesterday found a deserted Larkin’s Restaurant in this view from the Italian Arch Bridge.
An about-face on the bridge revealed the hidden cove known as Tryon Bay. Italian style bungalows cling to the steep slope above the water. This reminds me so much of the homes along Lake Como and Lake Lugano in Northern Italy on the southern face of the Alps.
Built in 1926 before man made Lake Lure was filled, the Italian Arch Bridge is one of the most beautiful you’ll find in all of North Carolina. I hope that it will soon join the irreplaceable treasures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The azaleas along Lake Lure at Larkin’s are in full bloom, and in another week, the pink Catawba Rhododendron will dominate the entire bank. Larkin’s is the only restaurant and outdoor terrace along the entire 25 mile shore of this pristine lake.
Between Lake Lure and Otter Creek, I paused at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. This classic but simple structure features a Churchill Downs style steeple, which seems appropriate with the “Run for the Roses” coming up later today.