Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Linville Gorge - Wiseman's View


                    - The Best View of Linville Gorge

Wiseman's View
After hiking the Linville Gorge for over a year.....after trudging up to the peaks of Table Rock, Hawksbill, Sitting Bear and Shortoff Mountains.....after struggling along the edge of Devil's Cliff and Chimneys' outcroppings......after enjoying a August swim in the cold Linville River at Cottontail falls.....and avoiding a snakebite on Rockjock trail.....we found the very best view of the Linville Gorge

To get there, you first need to find the Kistler Memorial Highway.  The road, named in memory of Andrew Hilton Kistler, the former mayor of Morganton, is located off NC 183 near the hamlet Linville Falls.  You may have seen it if you have visited the Linville Falls for at the northern end of the highway is a parking lot that serves the Linville Falls trail to Erwin's View.....a great place to see the falls.  ....(http://fbwg-hiking.blogspot.com/2012/06/falls-at-linville-gorge-my-favorite.html)

Truthfully, the highway is not much of a highway....it is a gravel road, a very rutted gravel road, which will jostle you and give you great concerns as you encounter other vehicles on this sometimes narrow gravel road....but not far from the entry to the highway you will find a cabin filled with information on the Gorge and some nice restrooms too !

View of Humpback Mountain to the West of Linville Gorge from Kistler Memorial Highway
Along the highway there are many impromptu overlooks which are often adorned with wildflowers framing the vista of distant mountain peaks.  The Kistler Memorial Highway is a ridge top roadway on the western side of Linville Gorge, from which there are many trails leading  into the Gorge.  Turning left at the Wiseman's View sign, you will encounter another very rutted gravel road leading to a large parking area....and a paved trail to the best views of the Linville Gorge I have yet to see!  This is a trail that anyone....I mean anyone can walk....a paved sidewalk like gentle sloped trail to a handicapped accessible overlook....the views there defy description.
Wiseman's View

The paved trail leads to a small park from which steps lead down to some well constructed overlooks. These overlooks reach out and over the Gorge allowing for the visitor to see the entire length of the Gorge. From these overlooks you can also see various views of the Eastern Ridge Mountaintops which the Fat Bald White Guy and his hiking companion had hiked over the last 16 months.....gee if we only knew!
Table Rock Mountain, one of the first peaks we climbed is the signature feature of the Linville Gorge.  The mountain was the location of Cherokee religious rituals and from its   summit is a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. (http://fbwg-hiking.blogspot.com/2012/06/table-rock-mountain-one-of-most-scenic.html)

Just to the north of Table Rock is my favorite peak, Hawksbill Mountain.  From the ledges just below the summit the ending scene of the movie Last of the Mohicans were shot.  It has a stunning hawk-like cliff and some picturesque views of Table Rock Mountain and the southern end of the Gorge. (http://fbwg-hiking.blogspot.com/2012/07/hawksbill-mountain-at-linville-gorge.html)

Shortoff Mountain
Looking south as the river flows to Lake James, the Chimneys and the North Carolina Wall form the eastern wall of Linville Gorge....the Rockjock Cliffs are seen on the western wall and in the distance is the plateau peak of Shortoff Mountain.  Yep...we hiked them all! (ck out the blog to read the details of our journeys)

Sure enough as we zoomed in on the Linville River....there we saw our favorite venue....the Swimming Hole at Cottontail Falls which we detailed in our blog entry entitled Spence Ridge...we could not see the Spence River Bridge as spring rains had washed the bridge out ....but the swimming hole looked just as inviting as last summer! (http://fbwg-hiking.blogspot.com/2012/08/spence-ridge-cathedral-falls-linville.html)

Looking north up the river toward the Linville Falls we saw the Devil's Cliff and understood now why the hike back up to the Jonas Ridge Trail along the Midcliff trail was so strenuous on a hot summer afternoon.

Leaving the stone covered overlooks and jumping a small fence, we found trails leading everywhere to many rock cliffs which offered various views of the Gorge.  In the picture below you can see the peak of Sitting Bear Mountain and a view of the Linville River as it rushes down from the Linville Falls. (http://fbwg-hiking.blogspot.com/2012/08/sitting-bear-mountain-devils-cliff-at.html)

If you want to go and look at the Autumn leaves this season and you have but one place to go....find Wiseman's View as I am sure the view will be stunning.  Seriously, if you have been envious of the views that the Fat Bald White Guy and his hiking companion have enjoyed .... and you are not up to taking the same hikes ... and the same risks.....find Wiseman's View...it is very accessible....very safe....incredibly uplifting.....trust me....the world will stop and you will fully appreciate the wisdom of John Muir:

Table Rock Mountain from Wiseman's View

"This is creation.  All that is going on today, only men are blind to see it...They can not pause long enough to go out into the wilderness where God has provided every sparrow enough to eat and to spare, and contemplate for even an hour the wonderful world that they live in."

"You say that what I write may bring this beauty to the hearts of those that do not get out to see it...The good Lord put those things here as a free gift that he who chooses may take with joy - and he who will not walk out of the smoke of the cities to see them has no right to them."

               John Muir- "Three Days with John Muir," The World's Work (1909)

Hawksbill Mountain from Kistler Memorial Highway

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