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Wednesday, 25 March 2009 20:57

The Naturalist's Corner: Going to Grandfather Mountain and back

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By Izzy Hendershot (age 7) • Notes in italics by Dad

We hopped in the car and started off. The first stop (two hours later, in Blowing Rock) was the hotel. We unpacked and then we got back in the car and went to Grandfather Mountain. We walked across the “Mile High Bridge.” It was a little scary. From the bridge we saw lots more mountains. I got to climb some boulders. I touched the “No visitors beyond this point” sign.

Grandfather Mountain is estimated to be 730 million years old. The rock beneath, the Wilson Gneiss Formation, is 1.2 billion years old. Grandfather was formed by the collision of the North American and African continents. Millions upon millions of years of weathering created a “geologic window” where younger, harder rock is left exposed above the older rock.

After that we hopped back in the car to see the animal habitat and nature museum. There were rocks, water and bears. The black bears were just waking up from their winter hibernation.

Next we got to see cougars. They were running and chasing each other. One of the cougars pooped in a hole, just like a cat at a litter box. We also saw a bald eagle that had been hurt by a gun.

Then we went into the museum and we got to take a look around. We got to see some cool crystals and rocks. We saw the biggest amethyst on the North American continent. It weighed 162 pounds!

This crystal was discovered in 1972 by Lester Sigmon in the Reel Mine at Iron Station, N.C. The crystal, 2 feet by 2 feet by 1 foot high, is thought to be the finest amethyst cluster ever discovered in North America.

We also saw a model of a salamander that was four times its actual size. Then we got to see some other things and the gift store, which had lots of stuffed animals.

We made it back to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain and waited for our friend Carol who was visiting from China. Cars passed by and none of them were Carol’s. Finally we saw her. When she arrived Grandfather Mountain had closed. Next, everybody, daddy, Carol, mommy and Carol’s sister, Nic, talked for a while.

They decided we would go to a restaurant together. I got to ride in Carol’s car to the restaurant. Nic reminded me of a student teacher at school, Ms. Hoyle.

We went to restaurant in Banner Elk called Sorrento’s Bistro. The waitress brought Maddy, my sister, and me a ball of dough to play with. Then we got to eat yummy pizza.

After we were done eating, my family went back to the hotel. Our hotel room number was 115. We went for a swim, then to bed.

The next morning, after breakfast, we went back into the pool. After that we packed up to get ready to go home. We got to have lunch with Carol, in Boone. That’s where App State is.

Then we started for home. On the way home we saw two deer run right in front of a car and almost get hit.

We started down the mountain and we saw some trees getting their new leaves. We stayed on the four-lane for a long time. When we got home my dog, Sophie, was glad to see us.

Izzy Hendershot can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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