Monday, October 22, 2007

I cannot look away...

Just when I think I'm ready to move on to new and exciting fall destinations...I find myself drawn back to the Blue Ridge Parkway retracing my steps from the last two weeks. Wow, am I glad I returned! The Blue Ridge is putting on quite a loud show right now! I didn't go up on Grandfather Mountain yesterday, but instead got this familiar viaduct shot and then went up to Rough Ridge. Luckily I was there before it became a zoo on the parkway. To get to the spot where the above photo was taken, you can either park at the end of the parking lot at the Linn Cove Viaduct visitor's center (Mile #304.3) and hike the amazing trail that weaves under the viaduct (everyone should do this at some point -- you're appreciation for this structure will grow with each step) or take the easy way and park at the Yonahlossee Overlook (mile #303.9 ) and walk beside the parkway for a short distance, cross over right before you get to the viaduct, and look for a short, little path leading up to some large rocks (most likely covered with photographers this time of year).

What you don't want to do is what everyone was doing today: Stopping on the side of parkway to get your shot. I actually saw one nutcase stop in the middle of the viaduct (yeah, no blind corners or distracted drivers there!), leave his car door open and then walk across a lane of traffic to take his masterpiece.

After the viaduct, I went on to the Rough Ridge Overlook (Mile #302.8). (Here's a previous photo and description). Above is a view of the lower portion of Rough Ridge with the parkway to the right. If you look closely at the upper left of this photo, you'll see that there's a wooden platform. The view from there is amazing -- and it's really a fairly short hike from the parking area to get to that point (a moderate climb, but not too bad - no more than 1/2 mile). Rough Ridge offers the best views of the viaduct -- as well as panoramic views of the mountains in every direction.

After you get to the wooden platform described above, continue climbing and you'll be rewarded with even more breathtaking views. Both trails, the Rough Ridge Trail and the Viaduct Access Trail are parts of the amazing 13.5 mile Tanawha Trail, which runs from Beacon Heights to Price Lake.

Links to nearby points of interest:
Grandfather Mountain
Flat Rock Overlook
Beacon Heights Overlook
Linn Cove Viaduct
Rough Ridge Overlook
Price Lake
Moses Cone Estate
Bass Lake

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