Blue Ridge Parkway
Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Stream and Waterfall on the Blue Ridge Parkway
When I first visited the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1972, I figured that my wife and I could drive the entire 469 miles from Cherokee, NC to the Skyline Drive in Virginia in two days (45 MPH speed limit means roughly 10 hours total drive leaving plenty of time for sightseeing). Well I was mistaken. It took us several years of trips to the Parkway before we had driven all of it.
Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway
We spent years exploring small sections of the parkway. Each year we'd drive a few miles a day. We covered some new ground and retraced old favorites. We spent our nights in Mom and Pop Motels in the small towns just off the parkway. Most of the time AAA guides weren't much help but the old Mobile Travel Guides were. It was surprising how many very small towns were covered by the Mobile Travel Guide. I just looked to see if it's still published and it's been renamed the Forbes Travel Guide. Wonder if it has the same great coverage of small towns?
On these trips we carried 35mm Minolta film cameras and a Super 8 Movie Camera. The gear weighed about 100 pounds. Now we carry digital Canon Still cameras and a Canon HDV video camera. Much lighter equipment. I think the digital stills from the Canon and my wife's Panasonic are now equal to what we got with 35mm film. The video is almost as good as the Super 8, but it's still not quite there. But it's a whole lot closer than it was when we were shooting VHS.
Flame Azalea on Blue Ridge Parkway
View from the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1977
Fall Colors from the Blue Ridge Parkway
Leaves in Yellowstone Prong
We found too many vistas worth stopping to admire and too many hikes worth taking. And there are still many hikes and places we haven't visited. Plus we need to visit many of the places we've visited at different seasons than when we visited. We really need to find time to visit in the spring when the various streams are full. When we visited in the fall, water levels were often very low.
Most of our visits to the Parkway have been in the fall when the fall colors are spectacular. We have made a few short trips in the spring when the azaleas are in bloom, but never at their peak. This is a shortcoming that we hope to remedy soon.
Then there are times when the wild flowers are in bloom. Another season that we have neglected. So we've got a lot of work to do just in our own backyard.
There aren't many paddling opportunities on the Parkway. Julian Price Like is it. But there are several paddling opportunities not too far from the Blue Ridge Parkway. We hope to combine trips with Nessie or Clem to these paddling spots with additional exploration of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Wild Iris on Trail to Crabtree Falls
Small waterfall on Big Crabtree Creek