I look out at the scenery before me. I’m 5,946 feet up and I see history sleeping below me. Where can I go to see breathtaking views, history, fame, rarity and adventure?
I didn’t go to New York City, Rome, Paris, or Greece. I went to Grandfather Mountain in Linville, N.C., about three hours from Western Carolina University.
“We are far from being the tallest of the natural wonders of the world,” said Harris Prevost, Vice President at Grandfather Mountain. “One reason that we are so highly regarded is because it [Grandfather Mountain] rises so quickly.”
Before I left Cullowhee, I made sure I had gas, food and spending money. Then, along with my friend Joseph Konvicka, we took to the open road.
To reach Grandfather Mountain from WCU, travel to Sylva and take Hwy. 74 East toward Asheville, merging onto I-40 East. Travel about 57 miles until you reach Exit 85 (US-221). Follow US-221 and the signs to Grandfather Mountain/Linville for about 40 miles.
When you get to the Grandfather Mountain entrance and pay for admittance, currently $15 for those ages 13-59, you will receive a CD that has information on Grandfather Mountain. After you leave the entrance, you make the steep drive up to Grandfather Mountain.
“It gives you a much greater sense of being at a higher altitude because you get up there so quickly,” said Prevost.
Once I drive past the Overlook and Split Rock, my friend and I got out of the car to experience the animal habitats, nature museum, and restaurant. The nature museum tells about the history of Grandfather Mountain, native plants, and animals. Some of the animal habitats include eagles, deer, otters, mountain lions and black bears.
Back in the car, we drive up to the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center included a gift shop and the famous steel swinging bridge.
“We have roughly 250,000 visitors a year,” Prevost said.
At the top of this huge mountain, it’s 10 degrees cooler and there is a view of the rest of the mountain range everywhere you glance.
Prevost said Grandfather Mountain has a lot to offer besides the mountainous views.
“We’ve got the bridge trail that is four tenths of a mile,” said Prevost. “The grandfather trail and grandfather extension trail is about a quarter of a mile and Daniel Boon’s trail which is little over three miles.”
Next time when I come to this heavenly place, where winter comes quickly and spring takes it’s time to reach the peak, I will trek one of the many historic hiking trails.
“I enjoyed the views while going up the mountain. I thought they were really cool,” Konvicka said. “If I had enough time, I would’ve gone hiking, definitely.”
My friend and I left in awe, yet we both didn’t feel we had enough of the old Grandfather.
For more information on Grandfather Mountain, visit http://www.grandfather.com.