A Day at The Peaks of Otter on The Blue Ridge Parkway

I conquered the mountain!
I conquered the mountain!

Today I witnessed such beauty that my heart was in awe at the artistic power of our creator. My friends and I made it a point to drive to the base of Sharp Top, one of the twin summits of the Peaks of Otter, and upon arrival ascend the mountain to its apex. The climb involved a hike of about a mile and a half, most of which was spent walking a steep upward path over sharp rocks and through dense forests. The trail cut back and forth up the side of the mountain, switching back to lessen the impact of the incline on tired legs. We had walked the path for over an hour and were finally nearing the first of two breathtaking overlooks when something strange happened.

We were climbing a point in the trail where the ground to our left sloped up at an angle of about forty degrees, while the ground to our right fell away at about the same rate. As we gazed up the hill off the trail to the left we noticed, about fifty feet from us, two white tail deer. Strangely enough our presence and loud boisterous conversation had not and did not frighten them. In fact, as we stood there in amazement, the two does actually begin to draw nearer to us. Unsure of what to do, my friend Joe and I advocated moving on in order not to disturb them. However the others were mesmerized by their presence and wanted to move closer. We ended up doing neither, and instead waited and watched. As we did so the deer continued to show no signs of timidity. The fear of man had left them. Another member of our groupĀ attempted to offer them some grass, thinking they may eat out of his hand, . However, this was to no avail as they simply stared and continued about their business. Their business appeared to be traversing the steep downward slope. Apparently they had had their fill of the mountain air. As they came down the hill, they drew nearer and nearer to us. In fact, the point at which one doe crossed the trail on which we were standing was a mere ten feet from me. This greatly excited us all and primed us for reaching the top.

After this brief but beautiful encounter, we continued our trek to the summit. We needed just a few more minutes to reach the first overlook. As I came out from beneath the cover of the trees, which at this height were short and scrubby from years of battling the cool mountain air, my eyes were met with a wonder I shall here try to describe. There before me, three thousand feet in the sky, lay a pile of immense boulders, jumbled together and on top of each other as if someone had dumped an impossibly large bucket of river rocks there on the top of the mountain. As I looked upon this pile of stones, I wondered what giant had thrown these smooth rocks to such an enormous height.

The view from the top of these stones was excellent, but it was only the beginning. From the outcropping, I could see a higher overlook, one from which the entire plain beneath could be surveyed. It was this outcropping toward which I turned my shoes.

It was a short hike to this new summit, and the reward was well worth it. Upon reaching the vertices of rock which formed the apex of Sharp Top, the whole of the world seemed to spread out before me. To the east a plain of green, dotted with deep forests, stretched to the horizon. This tapestry sown by the hand of God, was one to which I cannot lend due credit within the confines of a few black and white sentences on a page. Oh the creativity of the creator!

Off to the west another spectacle of grandeur arose before my eyes. The Appalachian Mountains in all their glory rose one after another and behind these; a crimson sky graced by a red sun. This, I watched, as it sank behind the mountains. This scene, this breathtaking moment in time, embodies the very soul of the mountains and I truly believe that these mountains, these majestic monuments of one unseen, make up one of the most beautiful segments of this marvelous universe.

The view from the top.
The view from the top.
If you look closely, you will notice the shadow of the mountain cast across the plain.
If you look closely, you will notice the shadow of the mountain cast across the plain.
The hotel far below.
The hotel far below.
Sunset from the peak.
Sunset from the peak.

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