New State: South Carolina
The eastern continental divide runs down Atlanta’s Peachtree Street. The Chattahoochee River flows to the Gulf of Mexico, even though it is well east of the Appalachian Mountains that spill into Alabama. If you spit on Peachtree Street there’s a fifty-fifty chance your spittle will go to the Atlantic or the Gulf.
The Blue Ridge escarpment marks the eastern edge of the Appalachians, but any rain that falls on the mountains proper will run west.
The road from Atlanta to Charlotte, I-85, runs through the piedmont, just parallel to real mountains. Looking off to the north, you can almost see the mountains; in Greenville, you actually can. Just south of Charlotte you pass close to King’s and Crowder Mountains. The road is consistently hilly, just enough to challenge your cruise control, or to keep you guessing whether those trucks are going to hold you up or run you down.
There’s been a lot of rain lately, so all the rivers and creeks we crossed along the way were near or over their banks. And autumn is catching back up with us – the leaves are growing colorful, although they are draped in a gray mist.
When we reached Charlotte, we detoured north. One more stop before finally reaching home: Troutman. It was our first stop on the way out, and it is our last stop on the way back, to visit Rebecca’s mother and family.
Our “hike” is up and down Troutman Farm Road. Despite the “No Outlet” nature of the street, neighbors tend to whiz by, keeping walkers on their toes. There’s also a state park, Lake Norman State Park, with a trail system along the lakeshore, but we assume it is too muddy right now.
The Troutman homestead is located just off Old Mountain Road, which runs along a ridgeline through farmland from Troutman to Hiddenite (Iredell to Alexander Counties, if you prefer). Hiddenite is a rich source of gemstones, including emeralds.
Hiddenite sits at the edge of the Brushy Mountains. The Brushies are not particularly tall, but they are significant: They mark the true beginning of the Blue Ridge, which has retreated significantly over the ages (op cit).
The Brushies have a lot of exposed rock faces between Hiddenite and Wilkesboro, but alas no public lands or hiking trails (to my knowledge). They are a good source for apples.