Exploring Pinnacle Mountain

Along the first mountain ridges you’ll encounter when driving west from Charlotte is a series of 2,500 foot peaks, formerly used by the large furniture manufacturers who have since left the state for Far East alternatives. The slopes are heavily wooded with Oak, Poplar, Hickory, Maple, and Beech.  After the companies left, the land was sold to developers, who built roads from the valley to the elevations above 2,000 feet, and sold lots for vacation cabins. One of those “gated” enclaves is called Pinnacle Mountain, and is located ten miles northeast of Lake Lure. 

Pinnacle Mountain eastern viewThe view to the east from an upper road is of the expansive Piedmont Plateau toward Charlotte….

Pinnacle Mountain Sugarloaf mtnFrom another high overlook, one see 4,000 foot Sugarloaf Mountain south of Lake Lure.

Pinnacle Mountain northwest viewFrom an empty cabin, the northwest view is of the High Country and Roan Mountain along the Tennessee border.

Pinnacle Mountain south viewNear sunset is a wonderful time to see the many ridges that accentuate the beauty of the Blue Ridge.

Pinnacle Mountain Caddy south 1The high gravel road is steep and rutted at times, but the end result is well worth the effort.

Pinnacle Mountain caddy mirrorThis driveway mirror seemed the perfect place for a selfie when driving back down the mountain.

Pinnacle  Mountain after March snowfallPinnacle Peak after a March snow this year.

Pinnacle SUnriseThe view of Pinnacle Mountain at sunrise from my place can be breathtaking….

Pinnacle Peak in autumnPinnacle Peak from another angle at my favorite time of year.

Harvest Time in Apple Valley

Just east of Hendersonville, North Carolina, is a fertile valley that is the fourth largest apple growing district in the United States. Over thirty varieties are grow here, and for a month at the end of summer, growers are busy gathering the bounty from their orchards. Because of a certified micro-climate area known as the Isothermal Belt, winters are shorter, and late season hard freezes are rare here. 

Apple Valley North Carolinaorchard

Apple Valley North Carolina red barn

Apple Valley North Carolina farm

Everywhere, large apple crates are filled to overflowing with every color apple you can imagine.Apple Valley North Carolina harvest time

Trees are still heavy with juicy fruit waiting for their chance to head for market…Apple Valley North Carolina red apples

Apple Valley North Carolina ripe applesThese apples have a little more ripening to do before their time comes..

Apple Valley North Carolina goldenrodGoldenrod and Red Bush tell you that autumn is not far away.

Apple Valley North Carolina Grandad's OrchardBehind Grandad’s Apple House, weekend visitors marvel at the view across orchards and corn fields. Hendersonville hosts its annual Apple Festival every Labor Day weekend, and thousands turn out to sample the sweet fruit.2017 Hendersonville Apple Festival

Hendersonville Apple Festival street fair

Of course, I had to bring some of these delectable fruits home to enjoy, along with a large jug of homemade Apple Cider.Otter Creek Valley apple table

Apple at Hemlock House North CarolinaThe sweet smell alone was worth the visit.

Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

We chose to drive to a remote area of northern South Carolina between Spartanburg and Columbia, where the Saluda River passes a crossroads at Chappells. We went to a boat landing under a large bridge so that we could experience the sounds of instant dusk along the river. Other adventurous people had also chosen this rural place, far from light sensitive streetlights and passing car beams. It was a wise choice.

jay river 2

three friends

The event began before 2 p.m., when the first sliver of the Moon’s intrusion ate into the Sun.Total eclipse south carolina saluda river

We took our place along the river at 2:15. Even though the Sun seemed bright, you could no longer feel any heat whatsoever. At this point, 85% of the Sun was already covered. Frogs and birds and bugs were already singing as the darkness approached from the northwest. At this point, the deep blue sky was totally cloudless. We were ready.eclipse saluda river south carolina

Near 2:30, the totality arrived. One moment, their was light, the next moment it got dark. We were using the special glasses, but when totality arrived, nothing was visible through the glasses, The four of us dropped the glasses, and what we saw was the most beautiful and powerful display of nature that we have ever witnessed.  The totally black Moon was surrounded by a glow that was so surreal, words can’t describe it. At this point I had accidentally hit the “movie” button on my camera, and for the next three minutes I captured the sounds of the critters along the river, and fleeting glimpses of the bridge above, the river, my friends, and for a brief instant, this image of the totality above the bridge.

total eclipse south carolina corona

The sky was a deep pale blue, much like a half hour after sunset. There were no stars visible. High clouds on the distant horizon still reflected the full sun, but with a rose hue. My friends were completely in the dark, and I couldn’t see their faces or any other details. The light was similar to the light of a half Moon on a clear night. 

eclipse totality south carolina saluda riverI was able to retrieve a few screen captures from the video, and the over sensitive lens added light to the scene, but in reality, it was very dark. The river was no longer visible at all.  The light from a cell phone screen illuminates my cousin’s face. 

Below is a five minute video of this event, with those screen captures inserted to supplement the audio.  Had I known the camera was running, my reactions and comments would never have been so spontaneous. How fortunate the accidents of life.

Canoeing up the Green River

Ten miles south of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge, the Green River flows from just south of Hendersonville, creating Lake Adger in Polk County, and eventually joining the Broad River in it’s Journey to the Atlantic. Higher up the Blue Ridge escarpment, the Green River Gorge is famous for Class I kayaking, and the white water is considered the best in the East. That happens daily when water is release from a high mountain lake into the river.

Green River Gorge

Running the Green River Rapids

Lower down the gorge, the river becomes much less violent, and is popular in summer for tube floating,

Tubing on the Green River

Tubing down the Green River

At the lower elevation of 900 feet, the river become a shallow, tranquil stream, meandering below 4,000 foot mountains as it enters Lake Adger.

Green River Canoe trip

Canoeing up the Green River

Lake Adger Panorama

Panorama from Lake Adger

I made this short video last week trying to capture the tranquility of the lower Green River.



A Friendly Reminder…

When you read the post about the Black Bears of Biltmore, make sure you visit the site so you can see the short video I made of the bear family…

Black Bears at The Biltmore Estate

A warm summer afternoon cruising around Asheville’s iconic Biltmore Estate might not be as colorful as Spring or Fall, but surprises always lurk around the next bend.

Biltmore House in Summer

Biltmore Estate Gardens in Summer

Biltmore House Asheville

But the best came when I found a Black Bear family romping along the road, oblivious of passing traffic. A mom and three very young cubs were such a treat to watch,

Exploring Hunt Fish Falls on Lost Cove Creek

Five years ago I wrote this post, and it bears reblogging…

Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina- A Blog

          (If you’re reading this in your e-mail, click on the headline above and go straight to the blog)

 If you make a right turn onto Old Jonas Ridge Road off The Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Linville, and only a few miles south of Grandfather Mountain, the first thing you see is a giant Christmas tree farm. What I found unusual was the large number of Colorado Blue Spruce growing there. Most of these farms grow the popular Fraser Fir, and it was refreshing to see something new! After a couple of miles, you turn onto a gravel one lane forest road, and wind your way about six miles along the ridge, moving deeper into a thick forest.  With the windows down, you feel the 65 degree air, cooled by a recent passing thunder storm. Your destination is a small parking area at the Trailhead…

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