Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Glassy Mountains, Goats & Poetry - Where Am I?

Big Glassy Mountain & Carl Sandburg Home – 5/2/14 – 4.5 Miles

Time to do my part for my local hiking club, Carolina Berg Wanderers, and offer to lead an easy hike.  Let’s see, where can I find an interesting attraction, not too far to drive to and from and return home with some afternoon hours left over?  Flipping through Danny Bernstein’s books again, I found just the ticket in Hiking The Carolina Mountains:  The Carl Sandburg Home.

Carl Sandburg was a renowned American author and poet, awarded three Pulitzer Prizes (two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln).  Born in Illinois in 1878, he and his wife Lilian ultimately moved to a rural home property called Connemara in Flat Rock, North Carolina, now known as the Carl Sandburg Home, a National Historic Site.  There they raised their daughters while Carl pursued his writing and Lilian operated a very successful  goat dairy farm.  Shortly after Carl’s death in 1967 Lilian generously gave the property to become a National Park Service unit.  The home is preserved almost exactly as the Sandburgs left it, piles of books on nearly every surface, cigars in the ash tray and Lilian’s purse on a chair.  In addition to a hike on the property, our group toured the house and the still-operating goat farm.

Read more about the Carl Sandburg Home here. 

Our destination was about a two-hour drive, arriving about 10:00 a.m.  From the parking area it’s a short walk to the edge of Front Lake and a first view of the house perched on top of its little mountain.  Disclaimer:  intermittent rain began the moment we got out of the car so I didn’t pull my camera out for key moments such as this.  I scavenged this sunny photo from the website.

We walked around one side of Front Lake and then turned left toward the house.  At the Menninger Loop Trail we turned left again and began the gradual climb around one side of Little Glassy Mountain.  Halfway along this trail we turned right on Little Glassy Mountain Trail to go to the summit (no view).  (Imagine a stretched out oval shape with a line through the middle of it.  Halfway along the middle line is the top of Little Glassy.) 

The big excitement was pink lady slippers, bunches of them, more than I’ve ever seen on one hike.

More pink ladies

We continued on Little Glassy Mountain Trail to the opposite end of Menninger Trail, turning left once again toward our main destination, Big Glassy Mountain.  The rain continued to come in short bursts and leaves were dripping, yet it was too warm to walk with rain gear.  Gonna get wet no matter what. 

New mountain laurel growth – love the bright spring green against the dark green old growth

Another 1.25 miles brought us to the summit of Big Glassy Mountain at a whopping 2,783 feet.  Here we had a view…of the black clouds gathering.  I think it was about this time that we heard thunder.  We edged back into the trees and ate a quick lunch as the rain began to increase.

View from Big Glassy with flowering black cherry tree

Fringe tree blooming

Shortleaf pine, new cones emerging

Time to put the camera away and go tour the house and grounds.  Flip through the photo gallery here on the website to see what we saw.

A baby goat from Connemara Farms Goat Dairy

“A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.”  ~Rachel Carson


Elizabeth Sheppard said...

What a fun blog! Can't wait to read more of it. I have featured you on my Girl Scout Betsy blog. I am from the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. You are invited to join the Outdoor Journey Project too, it is here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/outdoor.journey/. We are working for more official program and badges leading to the highest awards. You go, girl! This is an inspiring blog.

Danny Bernstein said...

You always seem to find lady slippers that seem to elude me. Beautiful pictures.