Hiking up the stairs to Chimney Rock was a lot like my experience during Race to the Top (49 stories; 1,194 steps; but who’s counting?) at the Duke Energy Tower experience back in March in Charlotte. Albeit, this time I had prettier views, better air circulation, and cleaner air. There were also a zillion less stairs to climb but, even so, it was a similar experience.
Marc was absolutely thrilled about the opportunity to park his pristine car in a gravel/dirt parking lot (please sense the sarcasm). We had a similar experience to this when we visited Westglow Resort in Blowing Rock, NC and drove down a super steep gravel drive to get to our cabin. That wasn’t a pretty moment and neither was this. We got out of his car and it had a coating of dirt on it. Not the best way to start the weekend, but I reminded him that it’s just a car. I’m sure Marc’s not the only one in the world that keeps his car spotless, so hopefully someone out there can empathize with him. If that person is you, leave the nice car at home if you plan to visit Chimney Rock.
Anyway, Marc and I decided to skip the trails since we were in sandals. We rode up to the top via a shuttle bus and I felt pretty guilty about not hiking the trails since I try to lead an active lifestyle. We had to ride the pretty white shuttle bus since Marc was too good to get on the big yellow school bus. We witnessed a complete moron passing us on the left hand side of the road. He almost collided head-on with a shuttle bus full of people coming down the hill. This guy was completely ignorant and showed no concern for other people’s precious lives. Thankfully, everyone was okay and the idiot driver received oodles of nasty looks.
At the top, there is an option to take an elevator or stairs to the actual rock, except the elevator was closed this weekend due to construction. I was glad it was closed since I’m not exactly in favor of having the elevator available for people to use. However, I realize some individuals who may have a handicap or medical conditions may need it to get to the top. I’m glad it’s there to serve those individuals, but I wish healthy individuals would choose to take stair in lieu of elevators.
We actually enjoyed working up a sweat and realized we could probably benefit from a hike like that every weekend. However, we won’t be hiking those stairs every weekend since it’s one of those trips where you say “been there, done that, glad we did it, but there’s no reason to do it again.” Chimney Rock is a beautiful and peaceful place and being on top of the rock is something to experience, but it’s just not something we would ever want to do again, especially not for the steep $12 per person fee. Forking over that kind of money more than once to see a view of mountains and Lake Lure seems somewhat preposterous to me. Perhaps I’m being a snob right now since I’ve seen much prettier views than that at Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, and in various places in Colorado and California. I guess all I’m saying is that there are a million places in the United States where you can experience breathtaking mountain views for free.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Marc at Chimney Rock. It was nice not having access to TVs, iPads, iPhones, and MacBooks for a couple of hours. When we’re at home, my iPad is out, the TV is on, we’re looking at our iPhones, or Marc’s on his Mac. It’s just our reality. We’re trying to get better about spending more quality time together at home, but the temptation to play with our gadgets will always be there.
Tip: Bring a water bottle. Even if you’re super fit, it’s wise to stay well hydrated!