Morning Along The Blue Ridge


The following is an excerpt from Wood's Journal, written by Martin James Wood and published on The Wood's Edge. As spring approaches, we find ourselves excited to explore the southeast once again.

Friday, August 5, 2016
Sky: overcast of thick cumulus clouds with hints of blue sky
Air: Very warm, humid and still
Precipitation: Intermittent heavy rainfall
Ground: Wet but drying quickly
Sunshine: Occasional bright sunshine
Temperature: 72 degrees
Time out: Mid-morning

This week, some of my family and myself are spending the week at a mountain cabin in historical Valle Crucis North Carolina. The temperatures ranged this week from the upper fifties on up through the mid-eighties here in the Blue Ridge. This mountainous area can typically have rain daily but during our stay we’ve seen some unseasonable consistent heavier rains throughout the days due to some coastal storms along the Gulf. Even with the heavy rain throughout the day, almost immediately after each water drenching, the sun will shine bright and ever so quickly dry up the saturated earth.

The High Country sky this morning seems to be constantly changing, with large white billows and blue sky. From an old rocker on the cabin's front porch, I take note of the branches above that are covered with light green strands of moss. I also observe the sunshine glimmering off the leaves along the wooded hillside. A heavy fog, below the hillside, hides the lower woodland and stream that I know is there, as I traversed its steep road to get to here. What a gorgeous morning in these mountains! 

The cabin has been extremely comfortable and pleasant. Wooded views from all around have been a pleasure for the soul. Quiet evenings have allowed for some well rested nights and scent from the piney forest has been quite therapeutic.

Blue Ridge Parkway, photo by  Amanda Tsiuke.

Blue Ridge Parkway, photo by Amanda Tsiuke.

We decide to head out along the Blue Ridge Parkway to take in some forested mountain views. We pull off to take a trail which leads to a mountain brook which winds along mass boulders and rocks, and mossy creekbanks. Just alongside the boulders and rocks are large dense thickets of laurel which follow the winding banks throughout the wooded wonderland.

The warm humid air of the morning seems cooler, among the laurel and along the crystal clear brook. The laurel decorates the banks with its dark green leaves of sporadic texture. Throughout the forest, light peers through the deciduous branches and laurel leaves shimmering off the water before me. Standing at the edge of a clear pool, I spot a trout along the rocks across the bowl in the shadows. I watch him, as he moves further into his rocky chamber of safety. Later, on the Parkway, we pull off for some magnificent mountain views way up amidst the pines. There are sporadic foggy formations throughout the valleys and mountainsides below. Driving the parkway, we are bestowed with breathtaking panoramas at every cliffy clearing. Along the drive, we’ve had several opportunities of sighting deer along the road’s grassy fringes. Appearing content in their summer coats of amber, they feed among the high grasses. We are fortunate to witness some fawns as they play in a meadow of flowering wild grass while their elders look on.

Grandfather Mountain, photo by Forestwander / CC.

Grandfather Mountain, photo by Forestwander / CC.

At another one of our pull-offs along the banks of what seems a hidden mountain lake, known as Price Lake which is part of the Julian Price Memorial Park, I look out at the placid water reflecting the mountains just beyond, which I realize are a main water source for this lake. The atmosphere is as serene and calm as the basin stretched out before me. A little further than my arm’s length away, perched in some shrubbery overhanging the water, is a Gray Catbird looking out at the majestic Grandfather Mountain across the reservoir. The black capped bird with her smooth gray-blue plumage appears to be so intently focused on the silhouette of the peaceful mountain view far beyond the lake, that she’s unaware of my presence. Turning my attention in the bird’s direction while sitting and reflecting, I can’t help but think of a time of when man’s decisions were wholly dependent upon the land, and nature. Decisions of what needed done for the day, what one would eat and drink, and even how they would sleep, or not… This makes me feel small. Real small.

The splendor of this tucked away little giant gem with its wooded banks, the high mountains in the far distance beyond its opposite shore, the pristine mountain brooks and tributaries hidden among these forests, the wildlife sustained by all this natural grandeur, and the giant sky above it all… Yes, I feel small. Real small…


Nature enthusiast Martin James Wood is an outdoor writer and blogger for The Wood's Edge. He has spent his life among the forests and woods, admiring nature with a camera and pen. His writing, artistry, and outdoor photography celebrate nature’s simplicity and beauty. A Pennsylvania native, Martin James is a loving father and husband, and a friend to our nation’s forests who believes in protecting and preserving our wild lands.