September 24, 2010

Postcard: Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock Mountain and Entrance to Motor Road, Chimney Rock, NC
(Unused - divided back, c1920s)

Tucked away in Hickory Nut Gorge of Western North Carolina, Chimney Rock has stood the test of time. And if you have seen the 1992 movie "The Last of the Mohicans," then you know the beauty of Chimney Rock Park.

Located along Highway 74A as it follows the Rocky Broad River, Chimney Rock Park has welcomed visitors since 1902. Its name comes from a 315-foot granite rock formation that stands like a chimney on the side of a cliff. The entrance is across a bridge spanning the river and follows a twisting road up to the base of the chimney. During the early days of the park, a series of paths, stairs, and ladders took visitors from the parking lot at the base up to the top of Chimney Rock. Since 1949, an elevator built inside the cliff can carry visitors 26 stories to the top.

Besides a visit to Chimney Rock, several other unusual rock formations can be found along five different hiking trails. Also found in the park is Hickory Nut Falls. At 404 feet, it is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The Pavilion dining room and the Cliff Dwellers Inn that were once part of the park are gone today, but you can still enjoy the Sky Lounge at the top of the elevator and the Nature Center.

For over 100 years, Chimney Rock Park was privately owned and operated. In 2007, North Carolina purchased it to become the centerpiece of a new state park. Still in development, Chimney Rock State Park includes over 4,000 acres in Hickory Nut Gorge and is part of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. Thanks to the state of North Carolina, the unique features and natural beauty of the area will be preserved for generations to come.

— Dan Hardison

Also available:
Message from the Past: Visiting Chimney Rock

Lake Lure from Precipice above Chimney Rock, Western North Carolina
(Unused - divided back, c1930)

September 10, 2010

On the Edge of Light

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

September 3, 2010


The heat of the day still lingers in the field.
Leaves disclose their secrets
in answer to whispers from the bay.

My daughter bends like a sapling in waning sun,
selecting dandelions: one for her,
and another one

for her brother who crouches on the uneven sidewalk,
Bear tight under an arm, thumb in mouth
to keep the world in balance.

Amber light filters through spreading elms
lining the avenue of this small town.
I breathe in the evening, close my eyes

long enough to etch the moment for safe-keeping,
before it fades, an old photograph, fleeting,
a child's breath freeing seeds.

— Ronda Broatch
From her chapbook "Some Other Eden"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Cookeville, Tennessee

Also available:
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