Life and Times of the Sharp Family

1000 Days of Thankful...and Counting


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 968---Chimney Tops

Colby and I decided to hike Chimney Tops today in the great Smoky Mountains National Park. We had never done this hike before, although we knew it to be immensely popular among hikers to visit this area. We had been working all week at this type again, as the trail is under repair and only open on Friday through Sunday.  At first, the hike didn't seem like anything too special. There was climbing, sure, but we had had plenty of that in our strenuous hike to the Ramsey Cascades on day one.  I didn't realize that until later, but apparently most people never even make it to the end of Chimney Tops, because the last mile of the hike is so steep (you climb over 1300 feet in less than 2 miles). So we were just going about our business, enjoying each other's company. When we reached the end of the hike, however, we were astounded.  The summit of Chimney Tops is a sheer rock face that affords 360° views of the mountains all around. That is, if you are brave enough to scale the rock to get to the top. Colby and I climbed a short ways and then paused to take some pictures. Meanwhile, all around we watched others as they struggled to find a path up to the tippy top without hurting themselves. Most have up before they reached even where we sat. Still more decided to go around the side of the rocky outcropping on a much tamer trail. 

If you know me at all, you probably can imagine how that rock face was just begging for me scale it. You also probably realize how badly it was killing me to sit only halfway up. One thing was for sure. I was climbing to the op of that summit. 

I  am no rock climber, but once I got started, I sure felt like one. Confidently, I found hand and footholds that were secure. The closer I got to the top, the more I allowed myself to exhale, which came out sounding like maniacal giggles.  I couldn't help it. I was having so much fun, and the views around me were staggering.  I've never done anything like that before. That climb was something I will never forget.

We headed back down, me flying high from the adrenaline of climbing the mountain, and Colby patiently listening to my insane chatter. 

We were just about back to the parking lot, when we passed over a newly constructed bridge spanning a beautiful section of river. We peered Down into the river and saw a perfect pool, almost like a perfectly imagined swimming hole. Again, you can imagine how badly it hurt to look at that water and not go swim in it. Colby looked at me and I could tell he knew what I was thinking before I even said out loud. Within just a couple of minutes, we were both swimming in that pool, laughing and splashing-- jumping off of rocks and hiding underneath the waterfalls.  The river was freezing, and we definitely got some strange looks from the many hikers passing back-and-forth on the bridge during the time that we swam, but it was a moment of pure magic, the second in the span of an hour that I will remember with goosebumps for the rest of my life.

Here is an awesome picture Colby took while we wen swimming:

And a vine of me jumping off the rocks:

Thank God for Chimney Tops!

Lord thank you for an absolutely perfect day, full of magical memories. In your name I pray, Amen.