Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Less color at lower elevations and clouds on the peaks.

A cold front had just come through and the warm balmy weather had turned cool and breezy with more fall in the air.  I wanted to see some of the colors at the higher elevations since they were supposed to be peak.  I armed myself with camera, extra batteries, warm clothing, water and snacks and set off.  I can access the parkway in the next town over, just about 15 minutes drive.  The colors were spotty and visibility was great.


Rock walls along the parkway where they blasted to make the road.

The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the ridge line from Virginia to the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. As the road began to climb up the ridges the temperature went from mild 60's to mid 40s and you could see the clouds catching on the mountain tops which meant less visibility at the higher peaks.  The views were still impressive and I pulled over almost at every overlook.  Lots of other folks were out leaf peeping too.

One of many tunnels blasted through the mountains.

The fog got denser and denser as I got closer to Mount Mitchell - the highest peak east of the Rockies.  I don't have any pics of the fog - I was busy trying to see and stay on the road.  Driving in fog was not part of my plan that day.



At the entrance to Mount Mitchell, I stopped to take pictures but you could not see the top of the mountain - not worth the long drive up for socked in fog.  Craggy Gardens was the same way - complete fog.




Located in a 1,855-acre North Carolina State Park, Mount Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet) is the highest point east of the Rockies.

Because of the altitude, many of the plants and animals are like those native to alpine environments of Canada. Mt. Mitchell is part of the Black Mountain range, formed more than a billion years ago. Six peaks in the small range are among the ten highest in the eastern United States. 

I did get out for a short walk at Crabtree Falls but didn't have time for the 45 minute walk down to the falls itself - some other day perhaps.



I got off the parkway at Route 80 and the road dropped down several thousand feet quickly to end up outside Old Fort.  This is Lake Tahoma and this used to be a casino jutting out into the lake.  Lovely rock building but it has been empty for years now - too bad.  It would be wonderful spot to dine!




Many thanks to the hosts of Mellow Yellow Monday, Ruby Tuesday, Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday. Please do visit the other posts on each of these great memes.

31 comments:

Lesa said...

I've driven on part of the Blue Ridge Parkway but it was in the summer. Beautiful drive! Love the tunnel photo and that round building should be a restaurant!

Kim, USA said...

The Autumn foliage is really beautiful. Too bad that building is not in use. Happy Monday!
Plant for bugs

EG Wow said...

I think it's amazing that the colour was at peak there this weekend. It was supposed to be peak in Toronto too and we are sooooo far north!

Jo said...

Beautiful drive you took me on, Cheri. I'd not see your stunning mountain country if not for your blog. Thanks! Have a wonderful day. Jo

Old Kitty said...

Oh how lovely!!! Well done you for driving all the way up there to get these fabulous pics of what is so quintessentially autumn!! Swathes of trees wrapped in golden red! Lovely!!!! Even the bits of the mountain that was blasted to create the tunnel is gorgeous - with those rock plants peeking out.

That stone house is amazing! What was it before? It's a shame that it's empty!

Thanks for sharing these marvels here! Take care
x

Liz said...

Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing. :)

My Ruby Links:
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Pauline said...

Thanks so much for taking that drive into the mountains. Very much my sort of place! I love to see these places I've heard of, to check them out for my "One Day" list.

Helena said...

These are breathtaking photos! I love that building out in the water... I could live in a place like that. :)

Marice said...

wonderful scenery!

u may view mine here

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

All the photos are stunning...but I really, REALLY like the tunnel.

My Ruby Tuesday LINK

Sharon's Landscape of Life said...

Great Pics! I wish I can visit a place as beautiful as that! :)
Please visit mine too :)

ewok1993 said...

so envious of the gorgeous colors in your world. the photos are all very pretty.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

It's been several years since we've been to the mountains in the fall. It is still the most spectacular color ever! Thanks for sharing the great pictures.

Jocelyn
http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com

Genie said...

Cheri....Your blog is just the BEST! You put so much work into your posts with your wonderful photography and interesting facts. How you have the time to work and do all of this for yourself and all of us I do not know. Hope all is well in NC...my boss was there over the weekend. I hope to get back sooner than later.

Judy said...

I love the mountain scenery, and you are right about that lovely old stone building! It would be perfect for a restaurant!

Mary said...

Wonderful photos of your drive down the parkway! I keep telling my husband we need to the make the trip :-)

jeannette said...

Oh so colorful - that's what I miss of the more Northern regions (am originally from the Netherlands)!

Ann said...

The Smoky Mountains are truly spectacular this time of year. So much dramatic color, the tunnel pic is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this beauty.
Ann

ρομπερτ said...

Thank you very much for this nice and much needed journey. Please have a good Wednesday.

daily athens

Ebie said...

It is so pretty out there! I have seen the Blue Ridge Parkway featured in the Subaru magazine. Just lovely!

Jane said...

So very beautiful! I used to spend fall at my brother's mountain home outside of Dillsboro. I miss seeing the leaves and smelling the air. There is nothing like it...
Jane (artfully graced)

La said...

Beautiful scenery to enjoy on a Sunday drive. Thanks for taking me along. La

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The fall foilage is looking pretty.

Light and Voices said...

I loved the cyber tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Joyce M

HollyC said...

Happy Outdoor Wednesday! I enjoyed this post sooo much! The mountains are always beautiful, but this time of year they are stunning! You're right about the old casino...it would be a perfect place to dine...even on the boardwalk! Thanks for sharing.
~Holly

Tricia said...

It's ashame the Old Fort isn't in business any longer - Looks to be a nice to, like you said, to dine. Wonderful photos you've captured - The fall colors are truly beautiful!!!

Erica said...

Just gorgeous views and your pictures are amazing. I've never been there before, but it sure looks like a trip worth taking. Thanks for sharing and Happy Outdoor Wednesday!

www.erica-sweetonyou.blogspot.com

DeAnna said...

Thank you so much, loved the drive...

Donnie said...

Your outdoors pictures are so beautiful. Especially the red leaves.

gemini said...

I love the mountains, i love the flowers, i love the trees, i love the terrain...Oh, just so breathtakingly beautiful!

Nora Johnson said...

Love all the Red here!
What a great blog you have -will be back soon to read through earlier posts.
Happy Ruby Tuesday today 25 Oct!,
Lola & Nora:)
btw Here’s my quick RT link!

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