Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Thereabouts...


Just so you know this not going to be a writing full of waxing poetic or any of that junk. I really just wanted to let those of you who are interested know how my trip on the Blue Ridge is going thus far.

My Goal; to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in its entirety.

On day 1: I drove like a bat of of hell to get as far as Ashville, NC in time to set up camp at Lake Powhatan in the Pisgah National Forest. Really cool campground for sure. Good thing, cause 3 days later I'm still here...

Major highlight for the day (and I said I wasn't going to wax poetic but) Just as I finished getting the ole pup tent up I heard a huge flock of Canadian Geese circling over head. As I was just a few hundred feet through the trees from the lake, I stood still and listened intently as they splashed down, all honking and making a ruckus. I could hear them for the rest of the day and into the dusk. Love that sound; must be the Canadian blood coursing though my veins.

Camping ala Kristine: I love my pup tent but, it's really not that functional. So, mostly I've been using it to stake out my territory; you know, claim my camp site. After that I just make a little nest in the crew cab of my truck and sleep in there. Last night's great outdoor adventure included me roughing it in my little nest eat oreos and drinking milk from the jug. Yup, wilderness camping at its finest.

Camping Note: there are no mosquitoes here this time of year, but black bears do frequent the area. I'm pretty sure I smell like ham sandwiches on the regular, so I figured sleeping in my tent might be detrimental to my health; or the bears if he catches me in the middle of eating one. That's a good way to lose a paw Mr. Bear...

Day 2: You have to understand, the original intent was to head all the way to VA to begin the BRP at mile no. 0 and head south to the end. However, that would have meant another 5 hrs in the car today through rush hour traffic. I opted out of that. Now as it stands, I'm only 100 miles from the end of the Parkway so I decided to do that first and then figure it out after that. Well that didn't happen. I wasn't on the Parkway more than 30 minutes before I ran into “the fog.” Scared the livin' shit outta me it did. So I did an about face and turned back. I thought “what the hell, I'll just head north.” Which was a grand idea...at first. I actually had a wonderful time stopping along the parkway seeing the sites for the first two hours but then “the fog” set in again. This time I stuck it out. I still don't know what was more terrifying; not seeing more than 20 feet in front of me as I wound my way up the mountain ( kind of an ignorance is bliss thing) or being able to see the sheer drop off to my left or right which my truck might plummet over at any second. Interesting day thus far...

New plan no.1: make it to the turn off to Mt Mitchell and camp there for the night and wait for it to clear. Sound idea until I found out at the park entrance two things: the campground itself was closed and reports coming from the travelers from the north were not good; the whole mountain, valley and subsequent roadway was fogged in for at least 100 miles. Well now...

Plan no. 2: head back down the way I had come; back to the camp ground I just left, and wait it out. Good thing about that plan; some of the fog had lifted so the ride back wasn't as bad. Bad thing about that plan; the fog was still present at some spots, I had to drive the same length of road twice, make that three time if I want to hike the summit of Mt Mitchell, which I do. Que sera, sera or something like that.

Highlights: The colors of the leaves and the mountains themselves, seeing the Master Development
plans for the Parkway , the Bonsai garden at the Arboretum, but my favorite thing of all; just sitting quietly out in the woods listening to the wind blow the leaves from the branches. The delicate sound the leaves make when they float gently to the ground helped fill me with a deep seated peacefulness. The smell of the earth, the water that was carried about by the gentle breeze was a thing of beauty to my senses. Time ticked by and I had not a care in the world. Man if there is a heaven on earth I thinks its here in North Carolina... (ok so I had to wax poetic a little)

So here I sit at the campground where it all began...waiting for the morning light...

Notes: People here are obsessed with blowing leaves around...I don't get it...there just LEAVES.

When driving the parkway DON'T take your eyes off the road. Gawking should only be done at look outs. For real!!

The fog of which I speak are really clouds...

The most useful tool I brought with me is my flashlight. The most useless; the little lantern I bought for reading.




Day three: Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Spent the night at Mt Mitchell once with my wife. Very windy, and we got lucky as there were only 7 campsites. A deer walked up on us before bed and scared the crap out of us, huffing as it got scared when we jumped! The leaves get very slippery when wet, maybe they are blowing them for safety reasons. Bob Cutty got stuck in his driveway once because he couldn't drive up the incline to the exit. Started blowing the leaves away himself! Enjoy your trip, it's a beautiful ride! Lewis

    ReplyDelete