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North Carolina:Remembering my Father on Grandfather Mountain

My father died unexpectedly. Well, it was unexpected to me. I didn't know he was sick until a couple days before he died. We had been estranged for several years, a result of 48 years of ups and downs in our relationship. Alex and I went to the funeral in North Carolina. We stayed an extra day to take a nostalgic trip to Grandfather Mountain. When I was young and would go visit my dad in NC, sometimes we would venture out to see the surrounding sights. One of the places we would go was Grandfather Mountain. So as part of closure for myself, I wanted to revisit it and say a proper goodbye.

It was an hour or so drive to get there from the town way up into the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachians. The fall colors were in full bloom which was a beautiful surprise.
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We stopped off at a viewpoint on the way up.
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Our next stop was Split Rock and Sphinx Rock, rocks believed to have fallen from the top of Grandfather Mountain.

Split Rock
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Sphinx Rock, weighing about two million pounds and named as such due to the profile resemblance to the Egyptian sphinx. Of course, I didn't realize this at the time and took the pic from the wrong side.
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We then drove up the windy section of the road featured in Forrest Gump to arrive at the top of Grandfather Mountain almost 6K feet above sea level. The famous 228ft, mile-high suspension bridge gently swings between two peaks.
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The views from the top were truly beautiful.
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It's still shocking to me that there are no safety rails on this mountain and that people scramble across the rocks at the top at their own peril. I remember standing here with Dad some 30 years ago talking about that very thing. It hadn't changed.
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We spent about 45 minutes on the mountain then stopped off at the gift shop before heading to the town of Blowing Rock. This was a small, touristy town at the bottom of the mountain. The last time I had been there was about 10 years prior on a visit with Dad. I wanted to spend the day there going to shops and looking around. Instead we drove there, stopped at one store for me to get a Christmas ornament while Dad waited in the car, split a Subway sandwich, and drove home. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind. This time we were on our own schedule.

We stopped off for lunch at The Speckled Trout where I had a bloody Mary and what else? Trout.
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After lunch we spent the afternoon walking in and out of the shops, buying things here and there, eating ice cream, and enjoying the little mountain town. The entire day was the perfect way for me to get closure on my relationship with Dad and I couldn't have asked for a more supportive person by my side for that than Alex.

Love you Dad
October 27, 1947 - October 14, 2022
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Posted by zihuatcat 14:41 Archived in USA Tagged north carolina grandfather mountin

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