There is something to be said for living less than an hour from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have always loved the beauty of the mountains, and on those real crisp days in the winter, when the sky is clear all the way to the edge of the horizon, I treasure the silhouette of the North Carolina Mountains in the distance. I grew up in a time when the family visit to the mountains was exceeded in rank by nothing else. I can remember looking forward to an anticipated visit so intensely, that I prayed fervently the night before that God would withhold rain the next day so that we could go.
Yesterday, I took time away from computers, books, educational issues, and home to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway with my wife and some friends. We had lunch in Boone, North Carolina at a restaurant called Char (For more information see here.) Then we took a short walk to the Expresso News Coffee shop for coffee. The temperature the entire time was a bearable 76 degrees. That’s why Boone, North Carolina is one of my favorite places to be in North Carolina.
After the coffee, we drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway to take a hike on one of the many hiking trails. The trail we chose on which to hike was the Green Knob Trail, located just outside of the Boone-Blowing Rock area. (Another blogger has captured the experience very effectively here.) This trail does offer a variety of scenery. It starts at Sims Pond and follows a stream bed until you find yourself climbing a hill. The trail then leads you through heavy forests and grassy meadows, and it changes so often there is quite a bit to see.
Sims Pond Overlook
Green Knob Trail
One of the Many Spectacular Views on Green Knob Trail
Rhododendron Blooms Along the Trail
There is a great deal to be said for the quiet experiences to be found along a hiking trail, and the temptation is often to take the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson who once wrote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Perhaps there is something inside of us that still burns to be a trailblazer, to walk off the path and create our own trail. That is probably what explains our passion for technology, teaching, and learning. We are all 21st Century Trailblazers. Educationally we do live in exciting times. We have an opportunity to “go where there is no path” and create an education system unlike anything the world has seen if we just don’t lose sight of who is most important, our students. Their futures depend on it.