It was the middle of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Austin and I had gone to church, eaten lunch, walked downtown, and made it back to our hotel room. It wasn’t too late in the afternoon and Austin spontaneously announced, “Let’s go for a hike.”
“But Austin. The hike we want to do is a two hour drive away.”
“So? It doesn’t get dark til after 8.”
So, we loaded up our backpack and made our way to Chimney Rock and this is why I love him.
Our first destination was Hickory Nut Falls. This 1.5 mile trail wasn’t a difficult trek and it ended with an amazing view of the falls. Hickory Nut Falls are 404 feet tall and this is where the ending of the 1992 movie Last of the Mohicans was filmed.
Am I the only one who is now having Last of the Mohicans playing in my head?
I think that standing and gazing at waterfalls is going to become a regular theme of this summer.
Once we had taken in our fill of Hickory Nut Falls, we turned around and made our way back along the trail so we could then head all the way up to Chimney Rock.
Gneiss Cave was on the way so we made a quick detour and descended into the darkness. It wasn’t very large, but, nevertheless, it was an interesting change of scenery and, since Austin and I both absolutely adore caves and caverns, we couldn’t pass it by.
On our ascent to full heights of Chimney Rock – a towering 315-foot granite outcropping – there were other lookouts we climbed to along the way. Make sure to take the detours to Pulpit Rock and Vista Rock for more incredible views as you make your way onward and upward.
The climb can be arduous. Wooden stairs span the gaps of the immense chasms between cliffs while connecting one rock precipice to another and some of the inclines are intense. However, there are handrails to help you continue forward when the going gets tough.
(Note: There is an elevator that takes you all the way to the top. The elevator was closed when we went, though, and the hike is worth the effort! It’s about the journey, not the destination.)
We made it!
After reaching the peak at 2,280 feet in elevation, the 75-mile panoramic views were spellbinding.
Since we still had plenty of daylight left, we decided to stop and stay a while. Sitting on a rock you climbed while gazing at the world below can make you feel so small. As humans, we have our place in the world and we each have a unique gift and calling, and it’s just so amazing that we can find our place and find our home and find the people we love in a world that is so vast and diverse and huge.
On this journey that you’re making,
There’ll be answers that you’ll seek;
And it’s you who’ll climb the mountain,
It’s you who’ll reach the peak…
Son of Man | Phil Collins
We knew that we couldn’t stay forever so we took one last look at the landscape below before turning around and beginning our decent back to the real world.
Sometimes spontaneous and unplanned adventures turn out to be the very best ones. Such was the case with our trip to Chimney Rock. Every time we go hiking, Austin and I learn new things about each other and new things about ourselves and being out in this beautiful world that God created causes me to pause as I am caught in a moment of awe and wonder. So, today I’m thankful for the sunshine, for mountain air, for strong legs, and a for best-friend-turned-husband-turned-traveling-buddy. I’m thankful for the memories we have of our day at Chimney Rock.
Have you ever hiked to Chimney Rock or Hickory Nut Falls?