The visual is linked inexorably to the breath; it’s a form of thievery. The Highlands, North Carolina landscape – gentle, proud, foreboding – stretches eerily to the horizon, as if by some paradoxical union. It’s there, at that essential point, where the breath is taken, by the mischievous scenery.
The vision of the heavenlies – as if orchestrated in some angelic tome – provides the draw. This rugged terrain of the Southern Appalachian Mountain range points to a prehistoric time when the continents were making their mad, merry way to geographic solace. And then came that oh so insignificant wrinkle of the clashing land masses – to form in one unearthly eon the splendor. The mountainous splendor.
Simple, right? Simple when you look upon the landscape – trapped in the moment, failing to grasp the million millennia of artistry, forgetting the creativity.
Behold, the view.
The Appalachian Mountains are the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and extends nearly 2,000 miles from Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador to mid Alabama, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. The Appalachians form a natural barrier between the eastern Coastal Plain and the interior lowlands.
Geographers, for our sake, divide the mountains into three large regions: northern, central and southern Appalachia. We at The Park on Main, the luxury pet-friendly hotel in Highlands, rest almost nonchalantly in the southern end.
Mountains Are Oldest in North America
This is North America’s oldest mountain chain, according to North Carolina State University. The name comes from the Apalachee Indians. Historians believe early pioneers found traveling through the valleys and large gaps nearly impossible. Roads and rail lines were later built to allow passage through the range, enabling the young nation to expand westward.
Settlers in the north began planting potatoes and wheat; to the south farmers grew corn and tobacco. The people of the mountains became known as Appalachians. The area’s first U.S. Census in 1790 recorded 175,000 people living mostly in the area now known as Virginia, according to Encyclopedia.com. The area remained mostly isolated until the Civil War. Population rates in the Southern Appalachian region reached 5.7 million by 1960, which has remained relatively stable.
The Formation of the Mountains
Archeologists believe the Appalachians were formed 680 million years ago following earthen plate collisions that created the supercontinent Pangaea. When the North America and Africa were joined as one continent, the Appalachians were connected to Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria.
Erosion had eventually flattened the Appalachians some 65 millions ago. The continental shifts lifted the terrain during the Cenozoic Era, which rejuvenated streams and created the unique and beautiful mountainous ranges. The era is the most recent of the three major subdivisions in animal development and concluded about 23 million years ago, according to the University of California’s Museum of Paleontology.
Heavy deposits of anthracite and bituminous coal are found in the Appalachian Mountains. Some mountain plateaus contain iron and zinc.
The Appalachian Mountains cover 737,000 square miles.
And there – as guests at The Park on Main – lies deep history, divine architecture and the taking of your breath.
Did you find this speedy flight through history helpful? Are you planning to head this way soon? Make reservations today. Let us know how we can be of service to you by following us on our social media channels.
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