20 In North Carolina/ Travel

Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina

The point of this road trip is that it was my trip!  I didn’t have an incredibly set agenda, sure I had places I was going, but then I just stumbled upon places when I got to those cities.  I wanted to be able to pull off the highway when I saw a sign that looked interesting.  Well, when I was driving to Asheville I kept seeing these signs for Chimney Rock State Park, but then thought to myself, no, I need to get to Asheville.  In that moment, though, I realized that I hadn’t done any of those spontaneous side trips that I had hoped to do.  I wasn’t just traveling in the moment.  So, when another sign for Chimney Rock told me to exit, I did.

This exit took me through an area by Lake Lure (which is where Dirty Dancing was filmed), and on this misty, cloudy day, it was mesmerizing and mysterious.  There was a small town nestled at the bottom of park with a river running through it and filled with sleepy shops that no one was going in or out of.

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The drive up to Chimney Rock State Park was an experience in itself.  There were all these twisty, windy roads leading up the side of the cliff, and the higher up I got, the more fog and mist there was.

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When I got to the gate of the state park, the lady working the window informed me that there wouldn’t be a great view from the top because of the fog.  Then, she told me that the Hickory Nut Falls Trail and elevator to the top of Chimney Rock were closed, so the admission had been reduced.  I didn’t care if the visibility was low, this was my first spontaneous side trip, and I was going!  So, I made my way to and up Chimney Rock!

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The closer I got to Chimney Rock, the less I could see it.  I practically sprinted up the 491 steps to try to beat the fog to the top.  I bypassed the Gneiss Cave to try to get there in time (which ended up being worth it, because I stopped on the way down… not very cool).  I finally reached the top, out of breath, but I had made it, and this is what I was able to see:

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To be honest, I wasn’t disappointed at all when I got up there.  Sure, it would have been great to see the river below, and maybe even the lake… But that isn’t what I got, I got this stunning view of clouds hugging the edge of these green cliffs, and I wouldn’t trade that view for anything.  It was instantly calming and a reminder to slow down and appreciate each and every moment.

***

I took my time going back down the trail, taking in different angles of Chimney Rock and running my hand along the rocks.  I had forgotten that the Hickory Nut Falls Trail was closed for the season and started to take it.  I made it maybe 1/4 mile into the trail when it was blocked off, but again, it gave me some really amazing views of the trail being swallowed up in the fog.  It was well worth a visit, even covered in fog and partially closed, because this side trip reminded me of the importance of spontaneity.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    hollyhilla
    February 21, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Loved the pictures. Did you do the hiking all alone? It was spooky-looking to me, but hauntingly beautiful….thanks for taking the time to try the side trip.

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      February 21, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Thank you! I did do the hiking alone. After graduating in December, I went on an almost, month-long, solo road trip! Thank you so much for reading and the compliments!

  • Reply
    Sharanya Konandur
    February 21, 2014 at 9:29 am

    eye catching pics! 🙂 gr8 job.. “:)

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 6:57 am

      Thank you so much, Sharanya!

  • Reply
    liz
    February 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Almost in Asheville!! I am dyyyying from anticipation! 😉 Your photos from Chimney Rock are just amazingly mysterious and beautiful. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! Love you!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 6:58 am

      Thanks, Liz! I hope we can all go back this fall and get some better views from up there and do some of the other hikes!

  • Reply
    Little Fingers
    February 22, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Wow what an incredible experience !!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 6:59 am

      It was really great! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting! xo

  • Reply
    vastergotland1
    February 23, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Yes, fogg i no excuse not to climb a hill. 🙂

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Exactly! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    Shikha Kothari
    February 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Excellent idea to take the detour…! These pictures are mesmerizing..

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 7:03 am

      Thank you! I was so glad that I took it because it made for a great experience. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    Shah
    February 24, 2014 at 12:29 am

    I love little sleepy towns. The foggy atmosphere reminded me of Silent Hill though, which I think is awesome! I’ll add ‘Visit a spooky town’ onto my bucket list. Great photos btw!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 7:07 am

      Ooo! I’m glad that I didn’t make that connection or it would have creeped me out! Ha! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Shimona from the Palace
    February 24, 2014 at 9:03 am

    What lovely pictures. I do so admire you having the courage to make a trip like this on your own.

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      March 1, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Thank you! It was a little intimidating when I first pulled out of the driveway, but ended up being one of the greatest experiences of my life! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
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