First things first: I am a Floridian girl. I come from the land of swamps and flatlands. The idea of a mountain or a town within a mountain is one that is completely foreign to me. Because of this, I drove to Asheville, North Carolina this summer with my best friend and my mom. One of the many things I learned on this trip is, Asheville is truly the most welcoming, beautiful cities to ever nestle within the Blue Ridge mountains.
When we finally arrived near Asheville I saw a huge ominous mountain overlooking the highway. After 9 hours of sitting in a small Ford Focus, I was slightly delirious but incredibly excited to finally see a mountain. I didn’t quite understand that we were driving up into the actual mountain. I didn’t quite understand that Asheville is at 2,134 elevations. But there it was, and we were ascending.
Our first adventure took place the very next morning. We drove nearly two hours Carvers Gap in Roan Mountain which is on the North Carolina/Tennesee border. This journey took us around mountain bends that were a constant spiral upward. Once we reached Carvers Gap we were at 5,5512 feet. We had reached at a majestic five-mile long ridge top.
Once we arrived at Roan I was floored by the absolute stillness that we found. The absolute silence was chilling, yet it filled my heart. There was zero noise pollution. I couldn’t hear any cars, leaf blowers, people or the rustling of city traffic. I actually heard and felt the wind pulsing through the canopy and bouncing off each leaf. I heard a songbird that echoed its song throughout the clearing. As a city girl, I was absolutely flabbergasted by this. Up until that very moment in time, I had never heard silence.
Once we parked and acclimated to the beauty, we immediately peed in the forest brush. (Hey, it was a long drive!) That is probably the calmest I will ever be: peeing on Roan Mountain listening to songbirds! The hike to the top wasn’t too horrible, although all three of us were exhausted about halfway up. We are used to FLAT hikes. This one was a moderate incline for us. But the trek was totally worth it.
On the way up we were surrounded by the famous June blooming rhododendron flowers. This was a sight I had never seen before and will not soon forget.
Because Roan Mountain is a bald, ridge top the views were clear and vast at the top. The grassy plain stretched and stretched and rounded off over the ridge. There was only one tree at the top. We found a lovely artist painting the landscape under the shade of the tree. The clearing allowed 360-degree views of the infamous Blue Ridge.
We sat on top and listened. We felt the breeze on our faces. It was chilly but the sun was strong. We shared a snack, split up and enjoyed the solace. Now, if I ever need to imagine an escape to a “happy place” this is surely where you can find me. At the top of Roan Mountain.
This was a highlight of our trip. If you ever find yourself nearby, do yourself a favor and take a breather at Roan.
Until next time,