Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Linville Caverns and Falls

Approaching the mountainsYesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and, like last year, we celebrated it by heading up to the mountains. Last year, we went to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. This year we decided to take a look at the Linville Caverns (the only caverns in NC that are open to the public) and Linville Falls. En route we stopped at a Crackerbarrel for lunch. Mark had been introduced to this chain (imagine a rustic American version of Little Chef) a couple of months ago by a friend of his and insisted that I would love their raspberry lemonade, which I have to admit is delicious.

North Carolina
If you're not familiar with NC, you may be interested to know that the Appalachian Mountains run through west NC. This range boasts the Blue Ridge Mountains, which includes the Black Mountains and the Smoky Mountains. There's a lot to explore in this area, but a long weekend entails one day to get there, one day exploring and one day getting back. Unfortunately, there's only so much that one can do in one day's worth of exploring.

We stayed in a small town called Marion, which turned out to be quite a good central location (if we had the time) for visiting Linville (Caverns, Waterfall, Gorge), Mount Mitchell (the highest mountain in the Appalachians) and Grandfather Mountain (has a mile-high swing-bridge that I'd just love to cross). We only had one day though, so we opted to go to the Linville Caverns and Falls.

The caverns are small and not really a lot to write home about, but I enjoyed looking around them anyway. To get to the Falls, we parked in a gravel car park and took a very nice 1.5 mile woodland walk to get to three different lookout points and back. It was particularly nice because although the temperature was a very mild (for mid-January) 74oF 23oC, yet with a lack of insects. By the time we got to the third lookout point it was starting to get dark, but we managed to get back to the car before it was completely dark.

Linville Caverns

Linville CavernsLinville CavernsA hibernating bat in Linville CavernsMark and Emily in Linville Caverns

Linville Falls

The start of the woodland walkThe first lookout pointThe second lookout pointThe third lookout pointMark at the third lookout pointThe woodland walk back to the carClick here to watch the video


Lorraine said...

Beautiful pics.

Kyle said...

Hi, I'm a busy New Testament PhD student working on my dissertation. I can't help but notice how is seems that Mark is able to spend a healthy amount of time with family, as for example in this post of your trip to Linville Cavern and Falls. I have a young family (daughter of 2 and one on the way), and would like a comment on how he does it? Especially since the New Testament scholarly world is a potential black hole of study and busy-ness that can suck up all of one's time.
I look foreward to a response, perhaps from you or Mark.

Kyle Fever

Kyle said...

Notice how I did not even take time to correct my spelling and grammatical errors!

Viola said...


The answer is:

1) Family trips like the one to Linville Falls are few and far between, but they are the sort of thing that I blog about.

2) Whenever he goes anywhere -- Linville Falls, the beach, England, Mark always takes his laptop with him.

3) If he takes an afternoon off to spend with the kids, he makes it up by working late into the evening. Come to think of it, he'll often work late into the evening even if he hasn't taken the afternoon off.

4) He doesn't sleep. Well, he does -- but only about 5 hours a night.