Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Roan Rhododendrons

Our North Carolina vacation was just packed with places to go and things to see. My sister in law geeta said we had to go see the flowers of Roan Mountain, so called because of a fancied resemblance in certain lights to the horse of that color. You could have fooled me. Cheyenne too, though she didn't care.Roan Mountain confusingly enough is a town in Tennessee though the parkland is on the North carolina side of the mountain pass the separates the two states. Very lovely it is too.And interesting.
We took a stroll out to the famed overlook that spreads the valleys of Appalachia before your eyes. It was another of those fairy tale strolls in which North Carolina abounds.
Half a mile the sign said and I wondered how fearsome this place might be that they even blaze the trees with bright yellow paint. perhaops they practic arduous winter trekking in these mountains when the trail is invisible and the yellow mark appears like a urine stain at your ankles...some blizzard I thought as I trudged up the hill.
It seemed silly to keep Cheyenne on a leash but I am nothing if not law abiding and there were other people rambling in the opposite direction even though it was late afternoon. It was out here that Cheyenne took it upon herself to take a bowel movement of epic proportions, one of stupendous size that seemed to grow in volume like a science experiment gone wrong, as I frantically stuffed it into a full sized grocery bag carried in my pocket for the purpose. "Let's hope we're alone at the overlook," my wife muttered as we resumed our stroll. "She could have gone deep into the forest, like she usually does, " I grumbled. "I think she fouled the edge of the trail to get back at me." My wife has a terrible sense of smell but my malodorous grocery bag was unavoidable. "At least you'll clear the overlook in a hurry" she said stepping away from me and my leashed dog. "No one will want to be anywhere near you." It was an added burden on an otherwise splendid walk.
High danger area! We were alone happily. I put my congealed burden on the ground like the millstone it was and breathed fresh clean air.
Stay On The Platform! Especially if you are exceptionally stupid. I shouldn't even think that sort of thought out loud, considering the brainiacs I talk to who call 9-1-1. People really do stupid things and I should know all this signposting really is necessary. Ass coverage at the very least when some idiot steps over the rail.
Cheyenne may be "just a dog"but she got the message even though she is illiterate, poor thing.
We stood in silence drinking in the scenery and listneing to the wind rushing up the hill past our ears.I am cursed with an inability to imagine ever believing in the existence of a supreme being dishing out divine justice among humans; consider lately how the money changers in the temple have been making out literally like bandits, however in these sorts of place one would like to imagine the possibility that all this was laid out not by aggressive glaciers in some random act of chance but these hills and valleys appeared to fulfill some higher and myseterious purpose.I looked down the cliff face and figured that most likley not one human foot had ever trodden among the rocks and bushes I could see directly below my own pink Crocs. I was pretty sure I didn't want mine to to be the first.My wife is not fond of heights and empty spaces. I am not either but when the parks service has gone out of it's way to build a sturdy railing and equip it with all sorts of warning signs i feel quite secure enough to enjoy the view.It put me in mind of Alpine Valleys in Europe, all this twisting unevenly shaped fields, cultivated down to the last inch, flowing across the landscape. this could be Switzerland if you didn't know better.Let us not forget we were facing west and the temperature was still in the mid 80s at least.
There was a helpful notice about Roan High Bluff and it's particular ecology.
people as always are the worst threat to the ecology. Messsage received. at least it's not dogs for once. We met an unleashed local on the way back so Cheyenne got to wander at will after that, and of course she didn't go far.
It was getting on for seven o'clock in the evening but we weren't done yet, we driove back to the main road enjoying the fact this whole excusion had cost us a measly $3 and we had had a fine stroll in the woods. Besides there was a new state to add to Cheyenne's growing list of travels.The view from the comfort of the pull out was every bit as good as that off the cliff face.
The highway into Tennessee looked smooth and enticing. We turned our back and heade dfor home and dinner.I got stuck momentarily behind this character and I fell into a reverie behind the wheel thinking back to what it used to be like driving farm equipment in my youth.
I don't miss those days though I'm glad I lived them.
Soon enough the raod opened up a little and he was gone.
And we were headed to Celo on the correct side of the mountains.