June 07, 2005

Blue Ridge Parkway

Each and every person who reads this should promise themselves right now that they will take the time to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway some day. This road is so stunning that I am sad now writing this because we have temporarily veered off of the parkway.

After we left Kevin and Leslie we spent a night in the Pisgah National Forest, which while the forest was very pretty I cannot recommend the campgrounds there. Our experience was that the campground was unkempt and overly expensive. The campground host told us repeatedly that the cost was worth it because we’d get a hot shower unlike the Parkway campgrounds. Well there was a shower there, but it did not work the first night and didn’t drain the next morning. In hindsight I wish we would have pushed on to the Parkway that night.

But then again if we'd pressed on we would have missed sliding rock, which was hilarious.

We picked up the Blue Ridge outside of Brevard, N.C. at around milepost 415. That day we drove only 100 miles but we took our time and didn’t get into camp until late. Along this leg we toured the Folk Art Center, Craggy Gardens, and Mt. Mitchell (the highest point in the eastern U.S.). We detoured only once due to the extensive damage last year’s hurricanes caused to the parkway. In three spots the road was simply washed away and the rebuilding projects, already long underway, looked daunting. We camped at the Linville Falls campground which was immaculate and nice. That night it began to rain and it wouldn’t stop for the next 56 hours.

Mount Mitchell lookout tower.

Mount Mitchell nature trail.

View from Craggy Gardens.

Us at the highest point in the eastern U.S.

The next morning we drove down to the Community of Linville and spied some of the falls and cascades along the road. We stopped at the caverns and saw remnants of mudslides and pictures of the aftermath of hurricanes Francis and Ivan. At noon we met up with Vicki a dear family friend of ours. We along with her golden retriever Sweetie Pie hiked all around Linville Falls. Around three we returned to our cars soaked to the bone. That evening we spent in Boone with Vicki and her husband John who was out of commission due to a very recent Achilles tendon injury. We tried not to rave too much about how great our hike had been, since poor John won’t be hiking for a while.

Linville Falls.

Rock slide from hurricanes.

Dan, Vicki, Sweetie Pie and me.

Thursday morning we all drove out to John and Vicki’s recently acquired land where they will be building their dream home over the next two years. For the first time I was the jealous one. Their home will be surrounded by forest with a view of the cascades and nearby mountains, no more than a mile off of the Parkway. Perhaps it is an effect of our impending settling down phase, but I sensed a new dream coming clear for us. A nice piece of land with a simple home, near water and surrounded by trees.

The cascade.

John and Vicki sent us off with a goody bag filled with sugared pecans and we promised to return soon, hopefully some fall when I can only imagine how beautiful it must be there.

Yesterday we drove from Boone, milepost 280-ish to Rocky Knob campground at milepost 170. Again we drove very slowly and made lots of stops. Most notably we visited the Mabry Mill. The first photo on this page is the standard/ required Mill photo, complete with rhododendron in the foreground. Again we were impressed by the campgrounds here; we camped in a completely empty loop, and enjoyed our solitude.

The Mabry Mill still.

Dan's new favorite place.


Anonymous said...

You take the most amazing pictures and write great narrative. If you don't do a book, you are crazy! (oh yeah, you quit your jobs and are traveling in a truck camper! you really are CRAZY!) I'm originally form So Ohio, very close to WVA, so many of the pictures this time feel like home. I hate to see your trip end. 2 more months? Say it ain't so.

Judy in Tucson

Anonymous said...

So about 2 more months.
When does the betting start for:

Where you stop
When you stop
If you stop

Great trip keep it going!!!


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Casey said...

I promised as your reader to have sometime to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway someday. Really want to visit the place as you do. Because your photos are so inviting. Glad you've got amazing time in the place.

By the way, thanks for the share. It's really worth a read. Cheers!

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Casey said...

You've got great photos in Blue Ridge Parkway. Really love your photo on the Linville Falls. Can't wait to visit the place as you do. It would be a memorable one indeed. Thanks for the share. Cheers!


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