Foggy mountains, raincoats, climbing boulders, distant views, the sweet, earthy smell of thirst-quenched leaves on the ground.
Black Mountain is something else.
For the longest time, John had been talking about taking me to Black Mountain. For one reason or another, we never went and always ended up on a different adventure. Now I can definitely see why he has been talking about it for so long.
It was somewhat of a hike, but barely. It’s not at all the best place to go if you’re looking for a lengthy or strenuous hike. It’s more for exploration of woods, rocks, boulders, cliffs, and views.
The adventure began in our kitchen where we threw together some turkey sandwiches, chips, and water to bring along with us. A little after noon, we took off. When we travel together, I’m usually either super hyper or falling asleep. After about an hour of driving, I was falling asleep. We stopped at a Starbucks that was obviously a pitstop for hikers. They wore their Chacos with wool socks, Columbia jackets, or long sleeve shirts. We ordered two coffees, which we doctored with cinnamon, a little sugar, and half-n-half. That did the trick.
Once back on the road, the drive from our interstate exit to the Black Mountain trailhead was short, colorful, and fragrant. Although a little chilly, we drove with the windows down to take it all in.
We parked at the top, and the leaves in the parking lot were already taking my breath away. That was nothing, though, compared to the trail itself.
We walked. Leaves beneath our feet were soggy and countless as we came to an old springhouse with water still flowing.
Around the corner, there were remnants of an old, stone house. Someone building their home on that mountain and making a life for himself there with nothing but the woods is something to think about.
We continued walking, climbed a few boulder paths and made it to the top. We had stuffed our turkey sandwiches in Ziploc bags in our pockets and brought along one water bottle to share. On the top of the boulders, we ate beside bright yellow and red leaves on trees. Light rain began to fall, and we threw our hoods up. It was that light rain which brought in nothing more than heavy fog.
Once we had finished eating and drinking water, we decided to find a better view. Along the way, we found some paths in the crevices of big rocks with peep holes shining the light of the path on the other side.
Eventually, traversing a small wooden bridge, we found the view.
The colors were magnificent, and I’m so gad we were able to see them before the leaves are gone completely. We stood at the top, talked to another couple up there who took our picture, and soaked in the mostly clear view of distant green grass mixed with the colors of fall above it.
After leaving briefly to explore an area below, we returned to find the clear view had dissipated. Fog had rolled in with the rain and left its mark on everything but the bright reds and oranges that wouldn’t surrender. We sat on the big slanted rock, huddled in our rain jackets, talking about where we’ve come from, where we are now, and distant possibilities creeping upon us, rolling in like the fog.
Because darkness would soon set in (and because our stomachs were growling again), we headed back down the trail to the car, but not before stopping to pick some Sassafras leaves, one of our favorite plants, to remember the trip by.