Sunday, October 15, 2017

Blue Ridge Parkway — Part 1

Happy and I were at the north entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway at 9am sharp, right on schedule. The fog was very thick and I thought about waiting for it to burn off, but then figured we would pretty quickly climb above it. I was right and we were soon rewarded with our first excellent view.

Much of the route is a lovely drive through dense hardwood forests. Thicker at lower elevations and thinner at higher ones. There wasn't much traffic and we cruised right along.

There are many turnouts, one every mile or so, throughout the parkway. They are all called "overlooks" despite the fact that many are in the woods and don't look at anything besides trees. Some may once have had views, but the trees in front of them have long since grown up to block the view. According to a park ranger, that's because only the road and a few feet on either side of it actually belong to the park. Everything else belongs to the forest service and they will, as he said, "do whatever they want with it" whether it improves the visitor's experience or not.

Then, of course, there are the overlooks that truly live up to their reputation. We stopped at a number of them, drove slowly through quite a few more, but skipped many just because it could take forever to catch them all. My shots don't do the views justice, but they're worth clicking on for a larger look.

I'm probably a week or so before peak foliage color season, but the many hardwoods were doing their thing and the few softwoods provided nice contrast. All in all, it was a lovely drive all day long.

We've stopped at Rocky Knob, about a third of the way along the parkway, where Happy and I will camp for the night. For us, camping is a minimalist affair, with her sleeping in her backseat truck house and me on a comfy air mattress in the back canopy. I can boil water for coffee and soup. What else does a guy really need?… Stay tuned!

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