Uphill Both Ways

There is a quirky saying that old folks who grew up here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains like to say which often makes me laugh because I have never believed it was true.  When you ask them about what times were like when they went to school many of them will tell you that times were hard.  They often had to arise before dawn to work on the farm before going to school; only to come home after school and work on the farm until dark.  Family survival depended on every member of the family doing their part.  When they were able to go to school, they had to walk for miles going uphill.  When they returned home from school they walked for miles uphill.  Yes, they will say, it was “uphill both ways.”

Hot and sweaty, but we made it to the top of Sharp Top!
Hot and sweaty, but we made it to the top of Sharp Top!

My husband and I recently returned from an overnight adventure to the Peaks of Otter area of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This is a beautiful scenic area offering many things to please the nature enthusiast.  Our goal for this trip was to hike the famous Sharp Top Mountain, a three-mile, round trip, strenuous trail rising 3875  feet above sea level.  It was indeed a strenuous hike and I found myself asking on more than one occasion, “Are we there yet?”   The near 360 degree views at the top were well worth the sore legs and sweat!  The bonus was that my middle aged body made it up the trail and down the trail without incident!  There was no going uphill both ways!

View of Peaks of Otter Lodge from top of Sharp Top Mountain.
View of Peaks of Otter Lodge from top of Sharp Top Mountain.

The next day we had a fine breakfast overlooking the serene lake at the Peaks of Otter Restaurant, and continued our quest to the Fallingwater trail a few miles up the road from the lodge.   It was a one and a half mile round-trip, moderate, hike to Fallingwater Cascades. The trail going down to the cascades was narrow, but as the area has been very dry, the trail was in good condition.  We enjoyed the beauty of large oaks and poplars, many which had to be well over 100 years old, as well as large, rock out-croppings.  Down the trail we traveled until we reached the ravine where the cascades were located.  We met another couple at that point on the trail who were from Chesterfield, VA.  We talked to them for several minutes.  They had come to the cascades from the opposite side of the loop trail from us.   They were a delightful couple and we hope they were uplifted by the chance meeting and we pray for their safe travels.

Section of Fallingwater Cascades.
Section of Fallingwater Cascades.

The interesting thing about the moment that we all discovered was the dilemma of which way to go.  If we continued along the loop trail, crossing over the cascades, we would have to climb uphill.  If we turned back the way we came we would have to climb uphill too.  Hmmm…is it possible that the old folks know what they are talking about when they say “uphill both ways?”

Now that I am back home ‘down in the hollow,’ I’ve been thinking.  The concept of “uphill both ways” applies here too.  While walking my dog down to the natural spring-fed creek that runs the boundary of our property line, I had that same “aha” moment.  “Do I go back to the house uphill the way I came, or do I start going up the ridge to the other side of the hollow?”  Perhaps, in the past, schools or homes were in a hollow or near a ravine like water source and our ancestors truly did have to walk uphill both ways.  Whether they did or did not, I am sure I will not be kidding them about the saying anymore.  I’ve learned that from some perspectives there truly is an “uphill both ways.”

Sunset on Abbot Lake at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
Sunset on Abbot Lake at Peaks of Otter Lodge.

P.S.  If any of my followers wish to enjoy a peaceful, nature filled setting with simple, clean accommodations and cozy dining with tasteful, local flavor, I recommend stopping by the Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in Bedford, Virginia (www.PeaksofOtter.com).  Whether you visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner; or stay all day to hike and enjoy the area, or even stay overnight in the comfortable lodge, you’ll enjoy great service and beauty that will refresh the spirit.

View of Sharp Top Mountain from Abbott Lake at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
View of Sharp Top Mountain from Abbott Lake at Peaks of Otter Lodge.

Phillippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)

Note:  I am never paid nor receive any kind of compensation for a blog review.  This is my personal blog and I only share information on books, places, recipes, and other points of interest that I and my family have tried and enjoyed, with the hope that if you choose to read a book I’ve recommended, or tried a recipe, or used some garden advice, or shopped and visited a place I’ve noted, that you will find it useful and enjoy it too.

Polly Woods Ordinary - Old rustic inn near Abbot Lake at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
Polly Woods Ordinary – Old rustic inn near Abbot Lake at Peaks of Otter Lodge.
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