One of my favorite mountain drives is from Brevard to Highlands. The mountains are gorgeous and said to be some of the oldest in the world. There are awe-inspiring views all along the road and several trails and waterfalls a short distance away.
One of the most impressive mountains is Whiteside Mountain, so named because of the rocky cliffs that shine white in the sun. There is a hiking trail to the top with fantastic views of NC, SC, and GA. The mountain has inspired legends of all sorts and has an area said to be the devil's courthouse. (Not to be confused with Devil's Courthouse in our county along the Blue Ridge Parkway.) That part of the mountain is closed to hikers because of dangerous winds and slides.
Every year in mid-October something wonderful happens on Whiteside Mountain. The sun slipping down in the west casts shadows from the mountain to the valley below. And the shadow greatly resembles a bear, said to be searching for a winter den.
AP Photograph by Jerry Jaynes
The Shadow of the Bear has a short life every afternoon near 5:30. Obviously the shadow appears only when the sun is shining and only for a couple of weeks. We have never seen the Shadow of the Bear. We are content to see photographs rather than take the drive, take a chance on clear sunset, and then drive home in the dark.
We love the mountains in all seasons and drive them as often in winter as in summer. The following photograph is one I took in January. Whiteside Mountain is white not because of snow but the face of the cliffs. The trees are bare with a coating of ice. Unfortunately the sun is not shining on the white cliffs. But where else can you find such beauty in all seasons?
Hope your week is going well. Try to avoid the "news" if you can and focus on the beauty around you.