Grandfather Mountain

I headed out to lunch with my friend Jessi after finishing the Autism Speaks U 5K (more on that later I promise). We decided on Coyote Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in the Boone area. Coyote Kitchen serves what they “Southwest Caribbean Soul Food” I just call it delicious. I ordered the Moab Boat

(Photo was swiped off their website, I’m terrible at taking food pictures)

“Coconut rice, butter beans, sweet potatoes, grilled tofu, fried plantains, roasted corn and broiled jack cheese” served with a side of cranberry chipotle salsa. Vegetarian comfort food at its finest right there. The best meal I’ve had in a while, that’s for sure.

If you’re ever in Boone be sure to check out Coyote Kitchen, they’re food is delicious and they are extremely vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free friendly. They’re a little on the more expensive side for the minimally employed college student like myself (my meal was $9), but it is a real treat whenever I get the opportunity to eat there.

With full and satisfied bellies we headed up to Grandfather Mountain. In April Grandfather Mountain has a $2 admission special for students, so Jessia and I decided it would be a great day to take advantage it. This was actually my first time going to Grandfather Mountain and it was a lot of fun.

Our admission price got us a fun audio tour CD to listen to in the car, it was very informative. The banjo background music totally set the mood, and I’m excited to listen to it in my car everywhere I go now. It’s the little things.

Our first stop up the mountain was the Wildlife Habitats and the Nature Museum. We saw bears

He sleeps just like my cat. So cute. Well, cute when there’s a cement barrier between the two of us. Grandfather Mountain also has a cinnamon-colored black bear which is cool, but I didn’t get to see him.

Fun fact: black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour. Don’t try to out run a black bear.

And the otters were adorable. Otters always are. I think it’s especially adorable that they hold each other’s hands while they sleep so they don’t float away from each other. TOO CUTE. This otter keep doing back flips off the rocks into the water. The 8 year old kid inside of me died of cuteness every time.

They also had cougars, eagles and deer, but they were all hiding. So no pictures of those.

A fun fact about Grandfather Mountain, because the elevation is of Grandfather Mountain is drastically higher than everything else around it it has it’s own climate distinct climate and ecosystems. The climate is actually similar to Newfoundland Canada (thanks to Grandfather Mountain audio tour for all that fun information). My friend and I made more than a few Canada jokes after hearing that fun fact, we’re really mature.

Even the squirrels are different.

We then headed over to the Nature Museum. We saw

North Carolina gold.

Mushrooms with fun names.

And tree tumors. Yes, a tree tumor. I won’t lie, it grossed me out a little, but it was kinda cool at the same time, I think.

Our final stop up the mountain was a hike up to the famous mile high swinging bridge. We took the Bridge Trail which was was 0.4 miles each way, and the views were beautiful.

On a clear day you can see the Charlotte skyline, 80 miles away.

A random cave, we were trying to decide if it would be a bad idea to try to go inside. Or if bears live in there.

The under side of the swinging bridge.

The entrance to the swinging bridge. Elevation – 5,282. I wimped out on the bridge, I made it like 10 feet across and couldn’t keep going. I’m not a fan of heights. The views were so spectacular though, I couldn’t get over it.

As we headed back down the mountain we saw Forrest Gump Curve.

This stretch of road was featured in the movie when Forrest starts running across the country. Not my picture because I was trying to not drive off the side of the mountain.

Overall Grandfather Mountain was a lot of fun, and well worth the $2. I’d love to go back someday and hike more of the trails. They sound like fun, but really intense so I’d have to come prepared.

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