Jen and I love to explore the wonderful outdoors around us here in western North Carolina so we can develop ‘day trips’ for our guests here at The Windover Inn Bed & Breakfast. (It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it!). There are almost TOO many options when it comes to hiking and biking trails around Waynesville, since our county has the second most miles of trails east of the Mississippi. Our travels landed us in a Shangra La called ‘The Pink Beds’ in the Cradle of Forestry area of the Pisgah National Forest on one of the few balmy days following heavy snows here in the mountains. We picked The Pink Beds because the trails here are easy as they meander through a bog laced valley surrounded by rhododendrons, spruce, hemlocks and dozens of other fauna. These trails traverse an area not too far from Cold Mountain to the west, and the mountains loom on almost every horizon line along these trails. There is nothing like the silence of late winter with only the squish and crackle of the melting snow and ice below your feet. Nirvana.
Hiking is always a spiritual experience for me. This hike was no different. The air was cold, but as is typical in this area, the sun was warm and it provided us with the perfect temperature for hiking. Along the trail we found several areas with clearings that would make great places for stopping with a great book or picnic, or at this time of year, sledding down the knoll. As we walked through the Pisgah Forest, I felt connected to the mountain as my feet sank into its mud and it released them slowly, giving me time to notice the beauty of this frozen wonderland. Ice that had formed works of art reflecting the sun like prisms; plants swaying with the current of a stream like a choreographed water ballet; a fallen tree hollowed out and set in the stream like a perfectly carved canoe; and the sunlight streaming through groups of trees like a pathway to heaven. It was a time of peaceful reflection, a time of gratitude and a time of appreciation. I’m so glad Glenn likes to take pictures!