Periwinkle is quite curious about today’s adventure. Stinky asked her to get to his house before the sun comes up. Not being a fan of missing out on her beauty sleep, she groaned when she got his text. But not wanting to miss out on spending the day with Stinky, she does as he asked.
Stinky is waiting with open paws when she comes tumbling from the teleportation tunnel with the usual whoosh. After a brief whisker kiss and paw hug, Stinky leads her back into the tunnel. Moments later, they arrive at their destination.
Immediately Periwinkle sees why Stinky wanted her to arrive so early at his house. The sun is just coming up over the mountain.
“Stinky, this is breathtaking. Where are we?”
“That is Grandfather Mountain in the distance. It is 5,946 feet above northwest North Carolina and is part of the United Nations’ Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve. The mountain is estimated to be 300 million years old, and certain rock formations date back 1.2 billion years.”
Mile High Swinging Bridge
“Wow,” is all Periwinkle can say. Stinky asks her is she would like to go across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, as it will give them a 360-degree panoramic view. She declines but asks Stinky to tell her about it.
“Well, it is America’s highest suspension bridge. It is more than one mile in elevation, in other words 5,280 feet above sea level, and is 228-feet long. The chasm below is 80 feet.”
“Yep, I definitely don’t want to go out on it,” says Periwinkle.
Stinky takes Periwinkle’s paw as if to drag her toward the Bridge. She swats him away, and he grabs her in a big hug. He whispers to her that he’d never force her to do anything.
Stinky continues to tell Periwinkle about the bridge. “The original bridge cost $15,000 to construct and was fabricated in Greensboro. It was erected atop the mountain, which took three weeks. It was dedicated in 1952 and rebuilt in 1999. The rebuild used its original towers. Galvanized steel was used to replace the flooring, cables and side rails. The cost to rebuild it was $300,000. Unlike the original bridge, this one swings very little due to its improved construction. It does, however, sing—somewhat like a harmonica.”
The thought of that makes Periwinkle giggle.
Exploring Grandfather Mountain
The tabbies spend the next few hours exploring the area.
Stinky has to do a little climbing, and Periwinkle, as usual, admonishes him to be careful.
“Stinky, look how gorgeous these rhododendrons are. I wish we could pick some to take home to our moms.”
“That would definitely get us in trouble. We have some blooming at my house. They aren’t as colorful, but if you like, you can take some of those home to Mom Sharon.”
“Oh boy, thanks for planning a picnic, Stinky. I am famished from all this hiking.”
After lunch and a short nap, Periwinkle asks Stinky, “What’s next?”
“We are going to see Mildred the Bear.”
Periwinkle gives Stinky a quizzical look, as he takes her paw.
Wilson Center for Nature Discovery
Outside the Center, Stinky and Periwinkle find Mildred the Bear. Stinky immediately climbs up on her front leg. Periwinkle decides not to say anything and jumps on the back of one of the cubs. “Oh Stinky, I thought Mildred was going to be a real bear,” exclaims Periwinkle.
“She was at one time. Mildred was born in 1966 at the the Atlanta Zoo. Two years later, Mildred needed a home in the wilderness and was brought to Grandfather Mountain to help increase the black bear population. She came with a male bear, but the moment he was released he disappeared. Mildred lived to age 26 and during that time birthed her own cubs as well as cared for orphaned cubs.”
“That is very cool, Stinky.”
“There is a lot more to the story. If our readers would like to read about Mildred, they can check out the website, Only in Our State, or read the book, Mildred the Bear, by Hugh Morton.
“Let’s go inside, Stinky.”
“Good idea. There is loads to see here, but it’s about time for us to head home. My dad, however, who has been here before, told me about something we should see. This is part of the Fauna Wall, which shows the diversity of species in the area with bird sculptures and animal imagery.
Clockwise from upper left corner: Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Wood Thrush, Eastern Screech Owl and Downy Woodpecker.
“These are really beautiful, Stinky. I don’t know if we have these birds in Florida, as I have never seen them around my house.”
“I have seen woodpeckers at my house, but I don’t know about the others, As I said, there is lots to see here. Our readers can find a list at Grandfather/Wilson Center.
“So, Periwinkle, it does seem to be time to head home,” says Stinky, as he takes her paw and leads her to the teleportation tunnel. Moments later they arrive at Stinky’s house. After a quick visit with Stinky’s fursibs and parents, Stinky and Periwinkle head to the yard to collect some rhododendron flowers for Mom Sharon. Finally, it is time for Periwinkle to head back to her house. She and Stinky spend several minutes paw hugging and whisker kissing before Periwinkle enters the tunnel. And then with a wave and a whoosh she is gone.
Stinky heads to the catio to nap and dream of Periwinkle.
Periwinkle and Stinky will be participating in the Happy Tuesday blog hop at Comedy Plus. You can join them there by clicking on the badge below.