I’ll Look Up – The Hartselle Enquirer
By A. Ray Lee
On a cool October morning, I sat by a large picture window to watch the day rise over the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. From where I was sitting, a wide view opened in front of me. In the valleys and valleys, a morning mist obscured my view of the scattered houses and businesses.
As I looked forward to the moment, the sun rose and turned the face of Grandfather Mountain brown, standing majestically 5,945 feet above sea level, towering over the hills below.
Slowly, sunlight crept into the folds of the hills, scorching the mist and lighting up the shadows that had hidden the brilliant fall colors.
Effie and I had come to the mountains for a brief visit with longtime friends Francis and Helen Luce to their Milfern Lodge in Crossnore, NC.
Later in the day, under the guidance of our hosts, we drove past proliferating tourist attractions and followed an uphill, winding road through tight bends with impressive drop-offs until we reached the top of Grandfather Mountain, where a panoramic view stretched for miles in each direction.
On our way down the mountain, we stopped at the Morton Nature and Wildlife Habitat Center and had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Hugh Morton, whose family had owned the mountain for several generations and had overseen its development, ensuring that it retains its natural character and beauty.
From there we drove to Blue Ridge Parkway and walked along the edge of the mountains until we crossed the Linn Cove Viaduct before heading out to Newland for a bite to eat at the Bear Trail sandwich shop. Then we headed to Milfern and spent a quiet evening sightseeing in the warmth of an old fashioned fireplace.
Saturday morning we quietly walked through Banner Elk to Valle Crucis and the historic Mast Store. Entering it was like stepping back into a bygone era.
Then we visited the park where a festival was taking place. Before I left, I bought a gallon of fresh apple cider to enjoy later.
After a detour to Boone and a late lunch in a restored building that was once a stately home, we returned to Milfern and rested for the rest of the day.
While Effie and Helen shared ideas for projects they were working on, Francis and I finalized plans for our annual Thanksgiving deer hunt with the Post Oak Hunting Club in York, Ala.
Sunday morning we worshiped in the beautiful Presbyterian Church in Crossnore, where the walls were erected from native stones from the Linville River. Then we said goodbye to the mountains and headed back to Alabama.
With Grandfather Mountain in our rearview mirror, the words of the Psalmist echoed in my heart. He wrote: “I will look up to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth ”(Psalm 121: 1-2).