Blue Ridge blog

Blue Ridge blog: “I walked along the Watauga River this morning before heading to work. I think I was trespassing, but only the birds noticed. This is the view of the Mast Farm Inn from the river. Actually this is the barn and the grainery. Forget cereal. This is the way to start your day…”

I wish I could show Marie’s photo…since I can’t you’ll have to follow the link yourself. I have to agree about a walk along the river being the way to start the day…The play of light on the farm is gorgeous.

Valle Crucis…my dreams continue to return there. I can’t wait to return for a week again this summer. Mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee looking out over Clarks Creek…hikes up the knob…days that don’t try to steam you until you’re cooked.

This year we are planning our trip to coincide with the Highland Games on Grandfather Mountain. Seems my wife really wants to experience the reality of the Scottish Culture, and to think I’m the one with the Scottish ancestry…I am really going to have to try and swing by the old home place out of Vilas, though after a couple of hundred years it might be a little hard to find. At least I should be able to cruise the creek they named after the family before most of them headed over the mountains into Tennessee. Great-great-great grandpa James Linville was born there on the 15th of July in 1794. Shortly after the turn of the century his family had migrated on over the mountains and he lived most of his life in north western Missouri where he died in 1873.

“Slow Road Home” by Fred First

Fragments From Floyd was one of the first blogs I discovered when I went googleing on the phrase “Blue Ridge Mountains” (actually Marie Freeman’s “Blue Ridge blog” was the first site I hit and it was her links list I was following to Fred’s). Fred’s writing spoke to me and when he starting blogging about the book project I was intrigued. When he made the pre-production order offer I jumped for it.

As you can see from the photo, I have been having a time warping experience of it. Reading both the book and the “Fragments From Floyd” archives. Moving forward on one “slow road” as I move backwards on the other, makes for an interesting if warped sense of time and place.

I highly recommend the book as a great read of the sort I haven’t read in years. And having the ability to follow the evolution of Fred’s style as he explored his muse in public on Fragments only adds to the enjoyment of the book.

Out My Backdoor – Texas

I took this shot last year in early spring. Early spring here is generally no later than mid-March. As we are only about 40 miles from the coast, spring tends to bring quite a few foggy mornings.

I generally like this type of spring morning, particularly when I can sit and enjoy the muffled sounds through the fog. Today, we had a morning a lot like this, with the exception of the fog. he temperature was pleasant, It rained most of the day yesterday so there is a cool dampness to the smell you get with that first deep breath you take. Since it is now much later into spring, you also get a whiff of the sweetness from the Texas Privet and the honeysuckle that are blooming in the woods. We are already past our local berry season…I was eating dewberries (our local blackberry) as I walked in the woods two to three weeks back, now there are just a few left in the shaded areas.

The weather report for today calls for seasonable cool…high today is predicted to be in the low 80’s… Posted by Picasa

The call of high places…

What is it about some people that causes them to always try to get to the highest place around? All of my life I have climbed to the top of the highest vantage point (and growing up on the Gulf coast of Texas, that usually meant a tree).

For years and years my favorite trips were to the Texas Hill Country out west of Austin. Even then I was chasing my roots, though at the time I had no clue. Turns out a couple of Generations of my family lived and loved, raised kids (Lord did they raise kids) and buried the loved ones that passed on. And they did it in a part of Texas that actually has topography unlike the counties I spent my growing up years in.

This photo shows Enchanted Rock on the horizon. It is one of my favorite spots in the center of Texas. This is what we here on the Texas Gulf Coast call a mountain…see the house in front, it’s only a mile or so from the base of the Rock.

Other than a car trip in the early ‘60’s to Ohio to visit my dad’s twin sister, I had never really enjoyed mountains. The only tall places I could visit around home were the man-made mountains in downtown Houston. I started visiting the observation deck at the top of the Humble Oil Building in the late ‘60’s and continued to make periodic trips up to see the sites until they closed it when it’s 50+ stories no longer topped the skyline of Houston.

It was on a business trip in early March of 2000 that I had a chance to run up into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The first day was a day that most of the people living in the area would recognize; totally fogged in…couldn’t see 50 yards down the road, much less the view from the overlooks. I cruised from Blowing Rock to Little Switzerland and didn’t see a thing. The next day the weather in Charlotte was clear and beautiful so I decided to try again. When I drove up the switchbacks above Lake James and then south down the Blue Ridge Parkway to where the road was closed, I was in awe. I stopped at overlook after overlook and stood in the sun with the icy wind in my face looking at the vistas until my eyes watered from the cold, but still I stared. The one thing that I will never forget was the thrill I got when I rounded the curve and drove out on the Linn Cove Viaduct for the first time. This has to be the most beautiful piece of engineering I have ever seen, and, to this day every time I cross those graceful curves I still feel a thrill.

That trip was the beginning of my love affair with these mountains of North Carolina. I have visited other mountains since, but I am always drawn back to the Blue Ridges that sheltered my ancestors so many years ago, and hopefully, will shelter me and mine in the years ahead…