I hope you enjoyed the previous posts,
especially the one about Chimney Rock
and Exclamation Point. As we descended
back to Chimney Rock, we continued down
the mountainside on the Outcroppings Trail,
which we found to be an eye-catching adventure.
This is the stairway that begins our
downward climb. We would see many
huffing, puffing climbers working their
way up. Our plan had three advantages:
going down didn't leave us breathless, the
great views were always before us, and
our hike ended near our car. YES!!
This was really relaxing after our
previous strenuous climb.
Part of the way down, I got this
classic view of the iconic Chimney
Rock, with flag unfurled in the breeze.
Our winding path was full of
interesting rock formations.
Along the way, spectacular views
of the gorge below opened up.
I loved the humor of the park signs.
Some were not humorous but cautionary.
Pay attention, Liz!
At this point we were still far above
our car. March on!
Occasionally, we saw glimpses of early fall
color. But we had intentionally planned our
trip for before leaf season to avoid the crowds.
This sign explains the bridge
photo that follows.
Just a little while longer.
And it's all downhill.
Renovation work continues on
an area called The Grotto and The
Subway. We still got a good look.
Work on The Grotto from below.
Work crews even removed a section of the
boardwalk to keep the curious from danger.
The whole mountainside is alive with
birds calling and in flight. This educational
stop was near the end of our hike.
We were interested to read about the
Peregrine Falcon, because we had seen one
high up on Exclamation Point. First we
had seen him solitary on a perch, then in
flight, in pursuit of prey. We didn't see
the result of his efforts.
Moonshiner's Cave, also called Gneiss Cave,
is currently closed due to the dreadful bat
disease, White Nose Syndrome.
Here we are at Vista Point,
nearing our destination.
This precariously balanced boulder seems
to dare us to pass beneath it.
But nothing will keep us from our car now.
We have conquered Chimney Rock and
its mountainous terrain. The journey has
been its own reward.
Two final posts will cover all the "lowland"
sights we enjoyed on our trip and several
educational features at the park. They're
not as exciting as these first four posts but
if you have time, please enjoy them, as well.
They'll be posted right away.