Great way to end the day........

North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway
Flat Top Mountain Carriage Trail

Under the Parkway

On this particular day, I was ever so eager to get outside and bask in the gorgeous weather.
On days like this, I like to hop on over to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We live less than an hour away from some of the most magnificent hikes you'll ever see.

I realized the other day that, I haven't shared a whole lot of them with you.
Know this, I plan to change all that!

Flying High

This hikes ascends from the Moses H. Cone Manor House to the summit of Flat Top Mountain.
The trail is 2.8 miles one way, but offers one of the most gradual grades.
You make your way to the top using switchbacks which makes it a rather pleasant jaunt.

The beginning of the trail takes you through pastures, and open fields,
you even stop over at Mr. and Mrs. Cones' final resting place.

As I turned the corner, I spotted the 'kite' you see above.
It wasn't the size of a normal kite, so I'm sure there's another name for it.
It did, however, look like a lot of fun.......
The person operating the 'kite' was wearing a harness, I mean, he was fully strapped in.
At one point, I saw his feet lift off the ground.....I thought to myself,
"If I try that, I'm likely to get swept AWAY!"

Continuing through the pastures.....

Path Before Me

I followed this trail into the shade of the maple trees,
where wildflowers lined most of the path.

The butterflies were extra flirty with me.
As a result, I was finally able to get my summertime butterfly bokeh flower shot!
They cooperated beautifully......

Bokeh Butterfly

After spending waaaaaaay too much time with the
butterfly beauties, I kept chugging along.
There wasn't any point of the hike were I was exerting myself, it was a very leisurely walk.

The very end of the trail - which is by far, the coolest part -
brings you to a fire tower that Moses Cone built upon the summit of Flat Top Mountain.

Flat Top Fire Tower

From the top, you are rewarded with expansive
vistas of the surrounding mountain range.
These grandstand views are truly magnificent, honestly,
it brought a tear to my eye I was so captivated.
I really love when that happens, as it reminds me that,
I am exactly where I want to be......

Now, I'm no videographer, but I wanted you to see the 360 degree view live.
To my defense, it was hard enough walking around the
stairwell while looking through the viewfinder,
and the tinge of vertigo didn't really help matters.
But there you have it.....

View from Fire Tower

See that road.....I was all the way down there!
Isn't that a lovely scene.....

I didn't want to leave, but was forced to sit aside while a pack of cross-country training
teenagers commandeered the tower.
Scraping their names in the paint while swearing to let me know that they were cool - it wasn't.
I waited patiently for my turn to go back up.....
I wasn't ready to say goodbye, yet.

View from Fire Tower

I was glad I went back up.....

I took my time making my way back down the mountain,
although my knee was acting up again?!
I think that I may need a brace for those downhills?

The easy 5.6 mile hike took me over 4 hours to do.
Thankfully, Cody wasn't with me or else he would have been doing
a lot of waiting around while I took photos!
It was nice to go as slow as I wanted to......

I even stopped and had a long chat with the fella who keeps the fields perfectly manicured.
He was an interesting guy who had the quirkiest sayings.
I tried to make mental notes, but we talked for so long......
One I remember him saying was,
"I've fallen off a truck before, but it wasn't yesterday!"

Meet Freddy:
Meet Freddy

His hat says Git -R- Done!
I asked if I could take his photo, and he obliged,
but every time I pointed the lens his way, he was funny.
When I turned the camera to take a vertical portrait,
he wanted to know why I was flippin' him upside down?! haha

Going back the way I came...

Going back the way I came, I made it back to my car.
I was so happy that I had just ended my day in such a way.
I was fully decompressed after a rough week........
Nature + Photos, does it to me every time!

How are you decompressing these days?


  1. wow Lovely photos with a great narative!! We have driven down the Skyline Drive..guess we need to take it a bit further huh?

  2. a beautiful post. such beautiful countryside. we are heading out of town this weekend, to the lake, and i can't wait. not just for the photos, but the quiet, although we are going en famille. lots of bonding to be done before people run off to university.

  3. We were at Cone Manor Tuesday but I have never done the carriage trails. This one will be on my to-do list.

  4. You just have to love the Blue Ridge Mountains. I love it there too. We will be visiting them again soon.

  5. There's nothing I love better than going for a hike and taking photos along the way. And often, going alone at your own pace is the best solution! What a lovely place and day for your hike! Amazing vistas. I am also very impressed with your photo of the delicate and muted. Kind of like a dream.

  6. I lOVE the bokeh in the butterfly shot...and that you have such a playful point of view about the butterflies.

    Thanks for the hike. I enjoyed myself :)

    Happy LT!

  7. Wow - these are AMAZING! You are so talented! Everything is right on with these. Also, thanks for your lovely comment on my work - I appreciate it!

  8. This was spectacular, WW! Without your photos, video, and, as jody said, great narrative, I'd have never even imagined this kind of hike in that area of the country. Loved your "flirty" butterfly and that Git 'R Done dude was a kick. He sure has a lot of work. Is that a state park? I can't imagine that it's private property with groomed trails. What a remarkable four hours you had so close to home.

  9. jody: Skyline Drive is a portion of this area that we have yet to drive....I hope to get up there very soon! Thank you for the lovely comment :)

    margie: It is absolutely gorgeous! It's nice to get away...especially to do some bonding....I hope you have a wonderful time!

    joan: I know, I saw your's funny that you've been at some of the same places, around the same of these days we'll walk right past one another! Definitely put it on your to-do list.

    greg: They are pretty magnificent....I need to make my way where you are :)

    kate: My pace is a lot slower because I am always looking for a shot....haha....glad you like the flutterby :o)

    mia's mama: Glad to hear that you enjoyed the hike, I'll be sure to share lots more. I really lucked out with that background on the butterfly shot.....I took many duds!

    please sir: My grin can hardly be contained....thank you for such a lovely comment.....and you're most welcome.

    Lydia: Seriously, you are too kind, I really appreciate such thoughtful comments. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a drive that stretches from TN, across NC, up to VA. We live very close to a major stretch of it, there are many hikes leading from the parkway. It is a unit of the National Park System, but is covers a vast area. I think, just for you, I will do a post about the history soon......

  10. Spectacular photos!! You must live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I love the lines and curves that are accentuated in the photos. The colors are amazing too! It must be beautiful there in the fall too.

  11. I'm decompressing by staying home this weekend. A quick trip to my hometown was cancelled and I'm quietly relieved.
    Your photos are great and make me want to get out this weekend and see something different.


  12. How beautiful- i have a longing for hiking!

  13. Gosh, your photography is stunning... the colors, the clarity. I am so impressed. Reading your writings is fun as well.
    The butterfly shot is fantastic!!
    You gotta luv Freddy's remark about being flipped upside down.. hehehe...
    Great post!
    Mountain Retreat

  14. Great sequence of shots. I've photographed much of what you included in this post but didn't get any shots that compared to these. Great job.

  15. well old girl you done it again the first pic wow and wow so fresh the light was just right another hour later it could have been lost i'm true when i say it's one of your best from the sky to the ground well done and it will teach you to take your tripod with you to shoot your video but the view and the panning across the skyline what a place to do some painting.i thank God for you and your work. love to you and Cody.

  16. I didn't know there were kites that offered the possibility of "flying"! How fun.

    What a lovely hike - and description. Definitely the perfect way to relax and enjoy the weekend.

  17. Great to be able to look forward to a post about the history of that area!

  18. I wish the butterflies would co-operate with me, it's just been too windy for them to sit... glad to have stumbled across your blog, will be back to visit again soon!

  19. The last one in this series is my favourite plus the man in the hat he looks a real character.
    I would love to walk such a beautiful track. Thanks for sharing your wonderful surrounds.

  20. beautiful! i need to find this place. i bet it'd be absolutely stunning at sunrise.

  21. That's awesome. I so want to go see your mountains and things. *sighs dreamily*

  22. i believe that is an eastern swallow tail butterfly

  23. those were great pics... i loved the butterfly the best....have a great weekend...

  24. those were great pics... i loved the butterfly the best....have a great weekend...

  25. My goodness, these photos remind me of a scene from Hobbiton in the Lord of the Rings... almost fairytale like, and very very English indeed. It feels like I am walking through a field here at home.

    Thank you so much for allowing us to walk along side you on your hike. I am so glad that it allowed you to decompress. I didn't get so much opportunity to go wandering on my vacation, and can't wait to get back into the swing of it.

  26. Stop. Torturing. Me!!

    You should really put a book of photographs together, with snippets of convos to go with it.

    I'd buy a copy tomorrow :-)

  27. I agree with Technodoll about the book!! In fact, I wanna reserve my copy right now ;)

    Oh and I forgot to say that I loved the 360 degree vid. Although, I didn't hear your voice :( I was sat on the edge of my seat hoping for a snippet of your accent! Nonetheless, it was a great and very fitting addition to the post!

  28. Oh my goodness, these are just gorgeous! It sounds like such a fun day. I have not hiked in a long time, but you are inspiring me to start again... :)

  29. You live in such a beautiful place, so lush and amazingly green and serene. I love the way you took photographs along the way. Sometimes it is so nice to hike alone. You made me feel as if I was there! thanks...Roxanne

  30. Just beautiful photo's. I've been to NC many times. I have family that lives there. I love the Blue Ridge Park Way. It's always breath taking. Thanks for sharing your amazing trip.