Serendipity: Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.
So off we went, up one of the most tried and true paths we enjoy hiking. When I was a new mom, I used to hike the route about twice a week with Aidan in a baby carrier or jogging stroller. Eventually, they were old enough to walk it themselves, with varying degrees of assistance by a parent’s back or shoulders. Now, they simply plow up it. It’s one of the best family hikes in Haywood County–a short 1.5-2.0 mile trek, depending on the path you take near the top, rewards you with some of the most spectacular views in the region. If you haven’t hiked it yet and you live in “these parts,” you simply must!When we reached the Appalachian Highlands Learning Center at the end of the road, we sat on the deck to enjoy our lunch. A gentleman arrived shortly after us and we exchanged pleasantries. As soon as I looked at him, I knew I had encountered him before. I told him he looked familiar and I asked if he lived in Waynesville, No. Hendersonville? Nope. Hmmm, where did I know this guy from?
It finally clicked! He was Jeff Clark, the author of the blog I visited before I left home to print off the hiking guide! There is a photograph of him on his website, and I’ve seen it enough times while exploring his posts that I recognized him. I told him I felt like I was meeting a celebrity in the world of hiking! 🙂
The hiking guide I printed off from the Meanderthal blog? It was created by Ken Czarnomski, a resident of Waynesville. It’s absolutely stunning–a work of art, really. It not only provides a beautiful visual to refer to while you hike Purchase Knob but useful and pertinent information also.
When I discovered the link to the hiking guide on the Meanderthals website a few months ago, I reached out to Ken in hopes he would lend his expertise to Shining Rock Classical Academy, the charter school I was helping to get off the ground. He is a talented man in many arenas and has selflessly volunteered his time to our school many times since. We are so fortunate to have such caring and engaged people in our community who are willing to give back to it in meaningful ways. And to think that today, I randomly met the man who unknowingly brought Ken and Donna into our lives.
On the walk back to the car, we had a vocabulary lesson on a perfect word for the day’s events–serendipity!
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” –John Muir
Links You Really Should Check Out:
Ken Czarnomski’s Hiking Guide of Purchase Knob which includes everything you need to know to get there and hike it (which again, I highly recommend!)
Meanderthal blog post about Purchase Knob with stunning photographs. Really, you should check out Jeff’s blog for any area hike you’re contemplating. There’s a good chance he’s hiked it and covered it with amazing detail and photographs. He also has a sidebar with an extensive list of links to very helpful hiking tips.
A great newspaper article about Ken Czarnomski and his many talents.
A beautiful collection of essays about Purchase Knob, written by Kathryn McNeil, the former owner of this tract of land that her family eventually donated to the park.