Weekend in Lake Lure, NC
Having lived in NC for nearly 20 years, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying seasonal change year over year. This particular year, we decided to visit a friend’s cabin on Lake Lure. It’s a Cute Little Cabin on The Lake that is located on the south side of Lake Lure and close to everything you would want to do. This time of year however, it’s the lure of the mountains and the collage of fall colors that you set your sights on – literally!
Arriving on Thursday evening, the plan was to head out on our first hike location, Hickory Nut Falls. We were glad we planned an early start because there was a rush later that morning heading up, as we were on our way back. There’s a special feeling you get when it’s just you and nature, or you, your husband and your Lab in my case. This particular day, the winds were whipping with such force that Chimney Rock actually posted a wind advisory. Of course, we didn’t see this until after we’d hiked to the falls and back.
There are different routes that you can take to the hiking trail. We took one that is a little longer that starts in the Chimney Rock Park called the Four Seasons Trail – it connects with the Hickory Nut Falls Trail in ~.7 miles. It doesn’t sound like a long way, and it isn’t, but when it’s as windy as it was it’s a scary hike! The trails winds in and around the mountains so at times we were shielded from the wind and other times you felt like you might be lifted right off your feet. There are enormous tall trees on either side with drops on the left or the right. You are constantly dodging roots protruding from the ground that will send you flying if your eyes are not constantly ‘on the path’. Every now and then you hear a creepy low consistent thud and realize as you look up that it’s a couple of tall (maybe up to 100ft) trees smacking against each other in the wind. You don’t dare take your sunglasses off, even on the shady sides of the mountain because the wind is blowing all sort of interesting things around in the air. After about an hour of this, we arrived and expected to see a lot more water in the falls than we did. Unfortunately the lack of rain was evident in what is normally described as an awesome waterfall. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful ½ day hike. I say ½ day because the drive there, the hike up and your visit at the falls and back is ½ a day. On our way back, we stopped at the Chimney Rock base camp and simply sat facing the sun and enjoying the view of Lake Lure and breathing in the crisp mountain air. A perfect place to plan our afternoon which included walking the quint Lake Lure downtown shops and stopping for some fresh brewed beer at the Green River Brewery. The weather was so mild that people were sitting out and drinking their beers, or coffee and pie outside the local coffee shop. We stopped to talk to some friendly people that told us about an apple orchard that had homemade apple cinnamon doughnuts! Yep, you guessed it that was our next stop. We headed out on the very scenic Hwy 9 and headed to Justus Orchards. We passed several fruit and vegetables stands, some bigger or nicer than others but we stayed focused on those warm apple cinnamon doughnuts. We arrived at Justus Orchards and all I could think about was the total delight my brother Luis would be experiencing if he were here with me right now – Luis eats about 6 apples a day! (No joke). And it just occurred to me that we didn’t take a picture of the doughnuts…they didn’t last long enough!
Saturday’s outing took us to Big Bradley Falls in Saluda. This hike was quite different than going to Hickory Nut Falls. First, you have to traverse a creek and rock-hop about 30-40 feet to get to the path on the other side. Then, along the way, you pass two (2) signs that warn you that people have died, yes DIED, on the natural lookouts to view the falls. Hmmm… After you pass those two signs, which are posted along trails that take you on a steep hikes down (assuming to the base of the fall), you come to a trail on the left that takes you to the HOLY COW THIS IS CRAZY! Lookout. There are NO guardrails at this location where there is a rock formation that jets out of the mountainside. When there, you have about 5 feet of space to stand, or sit as I did, to lookout and take pictures. Your heart races as the thought that beyond that ledge is a drop in the gorge that you don’t even dare imagine, much less try to see. Its standing up and climbing back up and over the rocks behind you to get back on the path that is the scariest part of this hike because if you lose your balance… Am I glad I did it? Yes. Would I do it again – NO! I would go again but I would not drop down to the lower rocks. It’s so scary, that we tied up our dog on the trail to be sure he wouldn’t accidently bump us in any way or fall off the rock. Following that adventure, you feel even more blessed to be alive, breathing and hiking through this gorgeous terrain. After reaching ‘base camp’ safely, we took some nice pictures along the creek and headed to Tryon NC to look around.
We had heard that Tryon was a special little city – and our vote is that it absolutely is. We loved it. We loved everything about it. Did you know that Tryon exists on a isotherm belt? Who knew, right? Tryon is a great place to visit with some super charming shops loaded with unique gifts. We came across a park called Woodlawn Park and decided to stop and take a little walk to stretch our legs. What a delightful treat! We were instantly green with envy with those that live in the neighborhoods surrounding this treasure. We thought it was funny that the sign with a map of the park mentioned a waterfall – there’s a waterfall! Small it may be, but it’s still there and you can see and hear it. This is a peaceful and beautiful short retreat for anyone that’s needs a quick recharge.
All in all, this was a perfect weekend. We enjoyed our time a The Cute Little Cabin at The Lake, and we hope to visit again.