Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adventures in Chimney Rock- Part 2

After the amazing drive, we couldn't wait to see how great Chimney Rock would be. According to the National Parks app on our phone, admission was going to be $9/person for the off-season, which is a little out of our daily budget, but we were willing to splurge. We've decided we're just going to have to be selective with the things we choose to go to with an admission fee. We were feeling good about our decision. There was about a mile drive from the main road to the ticket booth, and we were treated to the sight of a beaver scampering across the road from one side of the creek to the other. Yes, this was going to be fantastic. 

However, things began to look not so fantastic once we reached the ticket booth. Admission was listed at $15, and the bottom trail to the base of the waterfall, something we were really looking forward to, was closed. When it was our turn to purchase our tickets, we asked the gentleman if we could at least get a good view of the falls from the higher trail leading to the waterfall's top. 

He looked bewildered. "That trail's been closed for at least 8 years. It must have been a long time since you guys have been here." 

"We've never been here. We got our information from the National Parks app on our phone and a brochure we picked up at the official State Parks Visitor's Center." I handed him the map. 

Looking at the back, he said, "This map is from 2004. However, since the lower falls trail is closed for repairs, I can offer you $1 off admission. $14 each, please." 

I looked at Dave. "You still want to do this?" 

"Why not. We've driven all this way." 

I reluctantly handed over the money. 

Once in the park, things kept getting worse. Dave wanted to use the restroom before climbing the stairs up the mountain, but it was closed for the season. 

I wanted to stop in the gift shop, but it was closed for the season. 

I'm glad we aren't disabled, because the elevator up the mountain was closed. 

$1 off admission? Really guys? Really? As it turned out, half the park was closed. But hey, at least we saved that ever valuable one dollar for our troubles. 

The views were so amazing, though, we were able to just laugh about the absurdity and enjoy our time, though we did learn a valuable lesson. We loved Chimney Rock, but it felt much too touristy, and, after only climbing a series of stairs, we didn't feel like we'd earned the view from the top. Hiking on a trail to the summit of a mountain feels far more rewarding. So, it looks like we won't have to stress too much about admission fees- we much prefer staying off the beaten path and forging our own path to the mountain's summit. That's not to say we didn't enjoy Chimney Rock, though...we did. The commanding views were the definition of breathtaking. 

Elevation on Chimney Rock. 

After being on top of Chimney Rock proper, you can climb higher for even better views. It was dizzying! 

Even further up at Exclamation Point, elevation 2,480 feet. 

It was really windy up there! 



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