Doughton Park – Our Spot

Waiting To See & Know
(originally posted March 20, 2019)

Our Spot

We call it “our spot.” On a clear day, to Susan’s far right (off camera), you can just make out Grandfather Mountain where the ole guy still sleeps. And to her far left (also off camera) rising from the ashes of Big Tobacco the Winston-Salem skyline.

From Salem to Grandpappy, as the crow flies, about 100 miles. And all of it, every square mile of it, right there in front of us. At our spot.

Sitting there you could almost imagine omniscience. I mean, of course, if you had the best possible vantage point. And perfect vision. Panoramic vision to widen the frame. Telescopic vision to cover the distance. Microscopic vision to get really close. But more, a vision that penetrates the surface, a vision that uncovers the hidden. That detects the subtlest fold of the heart. With vision like that, from a place like that, you could see and know it all.

We spent hours at our spot. Hours full of small talk. Big talk. And re-creative silence. Munching on crackers and cheese. Salami and prosciutto. Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Laughing. Loving. Thinking. Contemplating the meal set before us, the view set before us, the hours and days to come, hoping to see, hoping to know. Convinced we are known. And given our limited vision, by Faith willing to embrace the mystery. Grateful for the beauty we could see.

The View
The View

All the while sipping a nice Pinot Noir or easing back a water bottle of “Magic Elixir” both carefully crafted to make the heart glad. And they did!

Stretching below us the Yadkin Valley boasts of 38 wineries. We visited many of them. But none of them with a view like this. Up high like this. As elevating as this. We loved our spot. Our place in the world.

“Magic Elixir”
My Sweetie
My Sweetie Selfie

A day with my best friend. Waiting to see and know…

 Psalm 33:13-22
The LORD looks down from heaven;
     He sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned he watches
     all the inhabitants of the earth--
He who fashions the hearts of them all,
     and observes all their deeds....
Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
     on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
     and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
     He is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
     because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
     even as we hope in you.  (NRSV)

Our Spot – At Dawn
(Aug 19, 2023)

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More videos of Doughton Park
in the next few days.


Doughton Park

The Blue Ridge Parkway, that ribbon of road that meanders through the Appalachian Highlands is a great way to beat the summer heat. One balmy July morning many years ago, I found myself at Doughton Park, one of the Parkway’s most celebrated stretches. And let me tell you, it was nothing short of enchanting.

One reason why

Hellers Blazing Star & Tiger Swallowtail

Regardless of the time of year, the first thing you notice about Doughton Park, aside from the fact that it sounds like a place where British bakers might gather to discuss the merits of scones, is its sheer vastness. Spanning over 6,000 acres, you’ll need a few days to see it all. The park has a delightful cafe and campground. Not to mention plenty of trails. Some are easy. Others demanding.

So…take your time.

A few days ago, I decided to stretch my legs on one of the many trails that crisscross Doughton Park. The Bluff Mountain Trail is a favorite among those who like their nature with a side of history. At the North Eastern end of the trail you’ll find Brinegar Cabin, a relic from the 19th century. It’s a humble dwelling, but it tells a tale of the hardy souls who once called these mountains home. I half expected to see a bearded man in overalls emerge, offering me a jar of homemade moonshine. But, the only spirits I encountered were the ethereal mists that rose from the valleys below.

(Video of Bluff Mountain Trail below. I’ll post a video of the cabin and garden in a few days.)

After my hike, I found a grassy knoll (not that grassy knoll, history buffs) and settled down with a picnic. As I munched on my sandwich, I was joined by a curious deer, its ears twitching as it regarded me with large, liquid eyes. We shared a moment, me and that deer, two creatures enjoying the tranquility of Doughton Park. It was only when I offered it a bite of my sandwich that it decided our budding friendship was over and bounded away.

Doughton Park in summertime, with its verdant meadows, historic trails, and sun-dappled forests, is a testament to God’s grandeur. It’s a place that whispers of bygone eras and the timeless allure of the great outdoors. I couldn’t help but think: mountain_man you’ve found another piece of God’s Good Creation.

Wildcat Rock

The Blue Ridge Parkway, often dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive,” is certainly one of mine. As I ambled along its curves, every twist and turn unveiled a new breathtaking vista. The mountains, draped in a haze that gave the Blue Ridge its name, rolled into the distance, their green slopes dappled with sunlight and shadow.

When the day ended, I found myself watching the sun dip below the horizon. The sky was ablaze with hues of orange, pink, and purple, and the world seemed to hold its breath. It was one of those moments of pure, unadulterated beauty that makes you grateful to be alive.

If you ever you find yourself on The Blue Ridge Parkway in the heart of summer, near the NC/Virginia line, make your way to Doughton Park. Just remember to keep an eye on your sandwich.

Click on image for closer view. Green arrows mark video locations.

Bluff Mountain Trail
Early Morning

More videos of Doughton Park
in the next few days.


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