What a fabulous few days I had with niece Julie! She grew up 700 miles from me, so we will be making up for lost time until the end of our lives. We had the house to ourselves most of the time, since John was having his own delights running trains in middle Tennessee. When she checked in for work occasionally, I read email and blog posts. In between, we talked non-stop. On Saturday we took the whole day off to roam the mountains. First stop was Looking Glass Falls, which she had never seen. I took a lucky selfie with the falls in the background. I say lucky because the camera looks only one way, not two like most cell phones. You can’t see exactly what you are aiming for. Not bad for a blind shot, right?
This waterfall needs a picture on its own. It has to be one of the most accessible tourist sights in the world. The highway that John and I cross on our morning walk is the one that goes right beside the water. There is parallel parking on the highway. Julie snagged the spot only three spaces from the beginning of the stairs. We enjoyed watching the water and the young, energetic people who went down to the water’s edge. A couple and a bunch of teens RAN up those steps! Julie noticed the man wore a tee shirt with the name of the county where she grew up. As we drove away, that man was boarding a bus with the name of the church she went to as a child. She texted a former neighbor still living in the neighborhood and found the group was having a weekend mountain retreat. The people we saw were not of her generation, but they were a link to her childhood.
We saw small falls from the car. With no reference point for gauging the size, you could imagine this one as a roaring cascade. In actuality, it produced only small gurgles.
Julie paused to snap a picture of the entrance to one of the tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway. That style is used for most of the tunnels on the road.
The photos I took of the long-range mountain views were not impressive. The lack of color, gray skies, and smoky haze erased the visual excitement. There is one shot of the next waterfall grandson David wants to explore. There were few leaves showing in the landscape, but a small tree beside the road was showering our car with petals.
After church we had lunch at a restaurant in Asheville that never got very busy. The staff didn’t mind that we sat and chatted for a couple of hours. Julie asked John some questions about history, so this was her chance to catch up with him. The entrance to the interstate was nearby. She headed east, and we headed west. That was the end of a most satisfying visit.