Looking Glass Rock is a mere 5 miles northwest of Brevard. However, one must drive about twenty miles to see the north face. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds around several faces of the rock. Located within Pisgah National Forest, it is a popular destination for hikers and rock climbers.
Looking Glass Rock reflects the sunlight, especially when water or ice collects on the faces. (Hence the name.) It was formed by underground volcanic activity and is a mass of molten rock which hardened beneath the earth. Centuries and centuries of erosion exposed the underground rock and shaped it into the marvelous dome we saw today.
The mountains were blue and hazy again today. The Blue Ridge mountains have always been blue, thought to be due to the release of hydrocarbons from evergreens, especially pines. In the past, however, the mountains were blue but not hazy. They were blue and clear. There are still some very clear days, but not recently.
The haze we currently have is generally due to pollution. Several coal-burning power plants are located within the Blue Ridge mountains and they are the biggest polluters. In fact, in some areas of the Blue Ridge mountains, the air quality is worse than in some metropolitan areas. So much for pure mountain air.
The power industry lobbyists are seeking relaxation of the pollution guidelines. They want to have a "mean" yearly rate of pollution controls. With this proposed plan, the plants could far exceed safe pollution on some days as long as they are far under the maximum on others.
As one of our State legislators said, "They would like to have you think that if your right hand is burning, and your left hand is cold, it is all right because the average temperature is 'normal.' But the damage to the right hand is severe regardless of the average."
And I would add: this type of regulation is absolutely insane. Monitoring would be done after the fact. The damage would already be done before the mean pollution could be calculated.