LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, February 2, 2009

Old Mountains in Winter

We love to drive in the mountains, especially on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Often, however, we travel in other directions on rural roads. One of our favorite areas for mountain viewing is in neighboring Jackson County where the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest meet.

While all the Appalachian Mountains are very old, these particular mountains are among Appalachian's oldest. One mountain has been geologically dated to being more than 400 million years old.

Many of the mountains in this area have sheer rock faces. The rock began as molten lava thousands of centuries ago. Wind and rain "beat" down the mountains, leaving the molten lava exposed as rock faces. They are lovely and popular destinations for rock climbers.






You can see houses built in this previously pristine area.







These mountains have become a playground for the rich and famous. Acres and acres of forest land have been turned into immaculately groomed golf courses and communities. With no zoning to prevent it, some houses are built directly on the ridge line. These people think it is perfectly all right to destroy the mountain in order to get the "perfect" view. My heart aches every time I see a huge house sitting astride the ridge line. I really dislike these people whom I do not even know. The homeowners in this area are now suffering the same housing slump that affects the rest of the nation. Many of these luxurious home are summer homes and the owners want to sell them and cannot. Perhaps that is the only positive thing to be found in this time of economic hardship. The houses are not selling, so there are no spec houses being built.



16 comments:

Kallen305 said...

Such beautiful mountains and I feel your pain and frustration with the development of land for McMansions. The house I bought 4 years ago is 100 years old and if I ever buy another house that too will be pre built because I like to think of it as another way of recycling.

The housing slump has slowed down the building of new homes which I too find welcoming. It's time to nurture that land and not continue to destroy it IMO.

Dog_geek said...

I, too, hate to see people destroying the view for everyone else, so that they personally can have the view they want. What attracts them to living in the mountains, if they are so willing to destroy them to live there?Where we live now, there are laws in effect to keep people from building on ridgelines, which is nice.

Coffee with Cathy said...

Thank you for these photos and for insight into something I'd never really thought about before. You are so right that perhaps there can be a bright spot or two in the housing slump.

George said...

When I lived in North Carolina years ago they had a ridge line law. Houses had to be built so they would not mar the ridge line. Has that changed?

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Happy Groundhog Day Carolyn.. We have a winter wonderland on the plateau this morning. The birds are eating and eating and eating.. I guess we'll have 6 more weeks -at least--of winter!!!! Hope you get some of this pretty snow in NC.. It's the kind I like--wet and sticking to everything BUT the roads!!!!

I hate seeing all of that development and building in those gorgeous mountains. It's EVERYWHERE --wherever there is a mountain to build on. It totally ruins the looks of God's gorgeous creations.

Great pictures. I love love love your area!!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Shellmo said...

Carolyn - I'm glad no new housing is going up in those beautiful mountains. I am tired of overdevelopment - we need to "redevelop" existing runddown neighborhoods before we go tearing down trees and destroying nature's habitat for the animals.

Cedar ... said...

One place that horrible thing cannot happen is in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Park was designated "Forever Wild".. and there is also a regulatory agency, The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) that reviews permits for new building, etc. The APA isn't always popular, but it does a good job to keep the mountains safe from that kind of development.

TheWritersPorch said...

Carolyn....a wonderful post. There has been so much of this in the Appalachias. I often think even though the formation of GSMNP was a hardship to the displaced inhabitants, it is so wonderful that it will never be raped by commercial building.

Cheryl said...

I can so understand your sadness. When your beautiful mountains are spoilt by the hands of man....purely for greed.....

We see the same thing here....I live in the countryside and vast areas of ancient woodland have been felled in order to build homes. Many of them are still empty....It fills my heart with sadness.....it is a changing world .......

KGMom said...

A bit late here--but let me chime in--me too!
I live in the Alleghenies--near PA's capital, and can see a rolling mountain.
And now I can see houses up on that rolling mountain. WRONG WRONG WRONG.
The Psalmist said--I will lift my eyes to the hills.
Yeah, and these days I will see despoiled forests on the hills.

Bird Girl said...

I love mountains - and also hate to see the houses polluting their space! Living in the friendly mountains of Pennsylvania...I just can't imagine live without the beauty of the mountains! Nice pictures!

The Birdlady said...

Wonderful photos of these beautiful old mountains, and yes, so sad that in so many places they are being spoiled.

TatteredSpinner said...

I wish North Carolina had more Wildlife Reserves further inland; there are such wonderful ones at the coast, but for many, the coast is so inaccessible. I miss living within an hour or so's drive of those wonderful, special places where you can observe wildlife without bothering or interfering.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Carolyn,
Your photos are beautiful. Are you anywhere near the Appalachian Trail? I just read a book about hiking that trail where the author mentioned those mountain names and also talked about the development below (her thoughts were very similar to yours).

KB said...

I share your frustration. One of my favorite things about where I live is that we have a fair bit of Federal Wilderness and Forest around us. When I drive home at night, the entire area to the west of me is dark - no lights whatsoever. It's amazing what a feeling of peace that darkness gives me.

Of course, the wilderness and national forests don't protect *all* the land around me which is why I share your frustration.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for you comments everyone.

George - Some counties do have ridge line laws (most made after the fact), but ours does not.

Carol - I share your feelings about the people who were displaced by the GSMNP. The same is true of much of our State forests as well, although it involved fewer people. I think folks like us who love to read about the early mountain settlers feel the pain of people forced to leave their land for the greater common good.

Ruthie J - No, we are not far from the Appalachian Trail. We haven't hiked there since we moved here because we have so many other trails we love.

KB - Three-fourths of our county land is either National or State Forest. That was one reason for our chosing this area. But you are absolutely correct...even that doesn't fully protect you from eyesores.