A Fall Hike to Charlie’s Bunion!
By Rachelle Siegrist
We left early last Wednesday morning, heading up to the trailhead for Charlie’s Bunion, while enjoying the beautiful fall scenery in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as we drove along. It was a gorgeous morning, however the blustery frigid winds at Newfound Gap parking lot, sent us back to the vehicle for an extra jacket! After hiking a couple of hours, we started to warm up, but I must admit our hands were still quite cold, and we were wishing we had remembered gloves!
Reaching Charlie’s Bunion, Wes and Kit immediately climbed up onto our favorite lunch spot, and I soon joined them. We could see forever with our eyes feasting on the spectacular view from our rocky perch! Sitting in the shade, accompanied by the continuing blustery cold winds, my hands had not thawed out, and I actually wondered at times who was feeding me my Peanut butter sandwich, as I couldn’t even feel my hands!
I admit we ate a little faster than normal, so we could enjoy the view from a warmer location in the sun! It was the farthest we’ve been able to see during our hikes up to that point, seeing mountain ranges and valleys which had not been visible before.
The splashes of bright reds and yellows of fall foliage that washed over areas of the mountainsides made it even more spectacular, and the warm reds and oranges on the rocks paired nicely against the brilliant blue sky.
Having patiently waited our turn to climb up on the bunion, Kit and I did just that and stood there for a few moments, just absorbing the surreal scene. Kit ventured out farther to get a few photos, while I remained on the first rock. Wes took photos from a distance to show the scale of the rock outcropping.
Some of the gorgeous fall color at the top . . . photos courtesy of Kit.
Fall foliage isn’t the only natural beauty that catches my eye! Luxurious, thick green moss always grabs my attention, and it was in superb form last Wednesday, thriving on recent rains, being taller and thicker than I’ve seen it in quite sometime. Numerous times, I simply couldn’t resist stopping to pet it and gently squish the thick pillows of bright green, convincing both Wes and Kit to join me!
We soon found our own rock to hang out on and enjoy the warmth of the sun for awhile. After checking out the grand view and taking a few photos, Wes and I just laid on the rocks, enjoying the warmth and feeling on top of the world! I heard a Raven calling in the distance and was thrilled when he flew right above me! It’s quite obvious that the wind blows a lot at these upper elevations and mostly in one direction, as many of the trees are one-sided!
Suddenly I noticed something bright flying nearby, and realized that alas it was a kite! In all the times Wes and I have hiked to high places, this was the first time seeing someone flying a kite, and I must say it was actually really neat!
Realizing it was growing later in the afternoon, we started our hike back down, taking the extra trip on the way to show Kit what’s known as The Jump-Off, which offers a great view of teeny tiny people on Charlie’s Bunion. We were blessed to spot both a Peregrine Falcon and a Bald Eagle soaring by while there! We returned home in time to enjoy a late supper of my homemade sweet potato bisque, as we talked about what an awesome day we had been blessed with!
~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~
This past week I finished my painting of an oak tree-lined road located on a southern Georgia plantation. The name of the painting represents the way I feel about this stunning drive! Wes and I also, have been working on surprise paintings. I’ll share these gems as soon as they’ve been delivered to their new owners.
Until next time . . .