Cashiers, N.C. — Atop white walls of rock reaching 1,000 feet in the air, hikers can see south from North Carolina into South Carolina.
Hikers often find that the narrow trail up Whiteside Mountain leads them to the edge of enlightenment.
"You can't experience God's creation unless you're actually in it," hiker Bridget Schmidt said.
"It's just phenomenal. You don't get that in the city," said Edie Schmidt, who brought her daughters Bridget and Kristen and son Adam to the mountain. "I have always tried to show them different parts of the United States because our country is just incredible."
The Schmidt family seeks out isolated places like White Mountain to vacation and reconnect with each other.
"We camp a lot and hike, try to see different things," Ellie Schmidt said.
"It's what brings our family closer together. It's our yearly dosage of each other (that) we don't usually get," Adam Schmidt said.
The trail to the top of Whiteside Mountain is what hikers call moderately difficult. The peak draws rock climbers, and its views also get rave ratings.
"Definitely feel like we get a slice of heaven when we come up here," hiker Robert Audet said.
Nearly a mile above sea level, Whiteside Mountain takes hikers a million miles away.
"You don't hear the cars or (see) the pollution. It's so much nicer," Bridget Schmidt said.
"It's just life," Kristen Schmidt said.
"It feeds our soul," their mother said.
This story is part of WRAL's summer travel series, "Nooks and Crannies," which airs every Friday in WRAL's News at 5:30 p.m.