The first day of October I took a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the high country north of Asheville, NC. The mountains here exceed 6,000 feet and the views seemingly go forever. It’s a captivating drive up, with plenty of pullouts so you can ooh and aah at the scenery. I tried to time my climb to catch some of the golden hour not long after dawn.
My first stop was the Craggy Pinnacle Trail at the Craggy Gardens section of the Parkway. It was a cloudless day, highly unusual in this area, particularly early morning. While the weather was top notch, clouds, of course, help with contrast and shadow for photography, so the conditions were challenging. Still, it was a delightful day to be out and about.
Next up was the 9 mile trip further north to Mt. Mitchell State Park. Not many visitors this day, as there were only about half a dozen of us at the summit. The cloudless sky continued as the views above 6,600 feet were instead hazy. A very little bit of fall color was beginning to show in the state park; still a ways to go.
Last stop was back at Craggy Gardens and the trail to Craggy Flats. I must admit to disappointment at the condition of the area. It’s obvious the pandemic has affected trail and viewshed maintenance here. There’s definitely an opportunity to volunteer at Craggy Flats. Contact the Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters to see how you can help.
Speaking of the pandemic, I wanted to comment that I was pleasantly surprised at the number of folks wearing masks. I would say three quarters of those I encountered were masked up, even on the hiking trails. Good job! What’s up with the rest of you?
Here are a few photos from my day in the north high country.
Looks more like spring
This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.