Since this was our first time visiting Grandfather Mountain, I was not sure what to expect. I mean, I knew I was going to get an awesome view, but was not expecting what I actually got.
When you enter Grandfather Mountain, you are given a CD to listen to. Seriously! It was awesome! It was like having a guided tour as we drove up the mountain. We learned all sorts of things. Like, did you know that part of the movie Forrest Gump was filmed there? (When he was running across America.) And that the all the employees thought it was going to be his stunt double that was filming, but instead Tom Hanks actually showed up himself? How cool is that!?
As we drove up the mountain, I was so enthralled with the views, I almost missed the picnic areas. Grandfather Mountain has several picnic areas where you can pull over, enjoy the view and have your lunch.
About half way up the mountain, we stopped at the Animal Habitat and Nature Museum. Here, you will take a walking path and see animals in their natural environment. We saw bears, deer, cougars, otters, but my favorite was the Golden Eagle. His name is Morely and he has been at the sanctuary since 1984. Last year, his mate Wilma (a Bald Eagle) passed away after having spent 29 years at Grandfather Mountain! Morely is a beautiful bird. And do you know why he was here? Because he was injured by a gunshot (GRRRR!) and had to have the tip of his left wing amputated – forever leaving him without the ability to take off.
He is an absolutely beautiful creature and I swear, when I was standing there looking at him, it was like looking at a General in the Army or something. I felt small compared to him. We stared at each other quite a while. People would pass by and sometimes ask questions to an employee about him…but yet we stared. I think, if given the opportunity, he would have told me how much he appreciated Grandfather Mountain taking him in.
I was finally convinced to leave the animal habitat and head our way up the last part of the mountain. This was a serious mountain road – with the hair pin turns, it is a slow go the rest of the way up. Although not the top of Grandfather Mountain (which happens to be 6,000 feet above sea level) we were at the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
Wow. Wow. Wow. That is all I can say. Look at the view we had that day. Absolutely stunning.
Funny, for a family full of people who are afraid of heights, this was definitely an adventure. And that is why you see so few pictures. HAHA! We were too busy taking in the awesome views and convincing ourselves to get across that bridge! But we did it! And did you know that when the wind blows, the sound of the wind going through the bridge sounds like a harmonica?
I will never forget our trip to Grandfather Mountain and rest assured, we will be back. When you head up to Blowing Rock, Linville, or any other neighboring city, I highly suggest you stop and make a day out of Grandfather Mountain! And I bet now that the leaves are changing colors, the views are even more breathtaking.