Monday, June 8, 2015

Moving to the RV Park and more sightseeing on the Blue Ridge Parkway


On Monday morning, the porters came and moved our RV over to the regular RV Park where we would stay for another week. 

Tom Johnson Camping Center











There were still a few of us RV Dreamers around, so we spent time visiting, and enjoying happy hour outside the RVs.

RV Dreamers











There were a few sights on the Blue Ridge that we didn’t get to during the rally, so we took a few afternoon drives this week.

Tuesday – Linville Falls

Tuesday started out warm and sunny, so after lunch we headed up Hwy 221 towards Linville Falls.  Getting there is a little confusing – just before reaching the Parkway, you come to a sign for Linville Falls which takes you into a tiny gravel parking lot, with a log cabin information center, which was closed when we got there.

Information Center

One of the other Dreamers had told us to continue along the gravel road to Weisman View – we would be rewarded with a magnificent view of the mountains.     Looking for the Weisman Overlook


We weren’t sure how far it was, and the road kept getting worse and worse . . .

but we kept moving for awhile.








At one point we could stop the car and get a glimpse of the view on either side of the road,

We got a peek at a view

and another peek











but we never did find the overlook for Weisman’s View.  We eventually turned around and went back to the parking lot.  (I found out later that the road did end at a parking lot for the overlook, about 4 miles from the information cabin . . . we must have been close!)

Not too sure about this trail through the woods



I was a little unsure of this trail, because it didn’t seem like what everybody had described to me . . . and then there was the thunder rolling above our heads . . . that made me a little uncomfortable, too!



We decided to get up on the parkway and find the Linville Falls Visitor Center, and take the trail from there.  I was hoping that the storm would pass in the meantime!

We found the Visitor Center, and despite the thunder continuing to threaten, we crossed the river and followed the trail.

Linville River

This trail was a little wider, and a little more developed,

So we took this trail instead!

but it ended up intersecting with the other one!

We reached the falls, and were faced with a choice between three different paths – we had heard that the view was best from the Upper Falls Overlook, so we took that one.

The rain was just getting started, but luckily the trail was pretty well sheltered by trees.

First glimpse of the upper falls

We reached the overlook, and had to be really careful – the rocky surface was really slippery in the rain,

We arrived at the Upper Falls Overlook

Just as the rain started!











Lots of water flowing around the rocks!


and I had no desire to take a ride on THIS waterslide!!










As the rain poured down, we made our way back up the slippery trail – very carefully – and back to the Visitor Center.

Carefully climbing the slippery rocks!


Heading back up the trail!


On a drier day, we would have explored the other trails at the falls, too, but not in this weather . . . that was it for us!

Upper Linville Falls


Thursday – Mt. Mitchell

We decided to try again on Thursday afternoon, and made our way up Hwy 80 to the Blue Ridge Parkway, towards Mt. Mitchell State Park.  Down in Marion, the sky was clear, but as we climbed the mountain, we got closer and closer to the clouds!

A cloudy day in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

We stopped at a few overlooks, but couldn’t see much.

Hard to get a good view from some of the overlooks!

We finally reached the turnoff for Mt. Mitchell State Park,

Mt. Mitchell State Park

and started making the climb toward the summit – we were really in the clouds now!

Climbing to the Mt. Mitchell summit

We reached the parking lot at the summit, and the clouds were passing through.  One minute you could see around you, and the next minute you would be totally blinded by clouds!

View from the parking lot

Parking Lot elevation

Where did you go!!??!!










Big Tom


There’s a concession stand at the overlook, as well as a small gift shop and the Mt. Mitchell Museum.  We walked through the gift shop and checked out the displays in the museum.








There was a short, but STEEP, trail to the summit, so we headed up while it was still clear.

Climbing the trail to the summit

That didn’t last long!

Hey - where did the trail go??!!

Not sure what we're going to see up here!











After the short walk we reached the summit of Mt. Mitchell – the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

We made it!

At the summit of Mt. Mitchell

Some type of ceremony going on at the summit


There was a group of people on the Observation Tower, doing some type of indian ceremony with flowers, and wine . . .


A Park Ranger arrived right after us, and he was talking to them about the fact that alcohol is not allowed in the park, whether they were consuming it or not.  He was also taking issue with the fact that they had poured some of the red wine on the granite benches, and he was concerned that it would stain.



Tom was quick to point out to the Ranger, “We’re not with them!”

OK, we’re not with them, but we will pose for a picture . . .

Didn't get their story, but we posed with them!

While they cleaned up their mess, we checked out the view . . .

Getting a peek at the mountains

or lack of a view!

Mountain view










This is what we were supposed to be able to see.

What we should be able to see . . .

As we were leaving the Observation Tower, the clouds moved a little bit!

Sun trying to break through!

The thinker


We made our way back down to the parking lot – amazing how much faster it was going DOWN the trail!!


Leaving the state park, we decided to take the parkway back to I-40 near Ashville, rather than going back to Hwy 80.  Tom didn’t feel like driving down that twisty-turny road again!





As we approached the Craggy Garden Visitor Center, we saw this car off the side of the road.

Uh oh!  Car off the road -- not us!

There was nobody in the car, and nobody walking nearby, but we stopped to report it to a Ranger up at the Craggy Dome parking area.  He had seen it already, and called for help, so I guess everything was under control – he still didn’t know where the people were, though.

On our way down the parkway, we stopped at an overlook,

Lane Pinnacle











Looking down at the valley

Rescue vehicles racing up the mountain


and were standing there when a fire chief, park ranger, two rescue squads, and a tow truck all went flying past us with their lights and sirens going.

I guess we know where they were headed!







That was an interesting day on the parkway!!


  1. Nice Post!! Love the photo of the 3 of you at the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Bryce is In the fog, Tom is In the clear and you are somewhere In the middle;o))) LOL

  2. We never got to Mt. Mitchell, looks like a return trip is in our

  3. Glad to see that you continue enjoying life in a relaxed manner taking in what nature has to offer.
    We didn't do Mt. Mitchell either but will consider it if we are ever in the area again.
    That was quite the twisting road returning from Linville Falls. Had a bunch of motorcyclist following us in the truck so I used the view points as pull-offs so they could pass.
    Hope to here some good news about you traveling again soon.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. Mt Mitchell was my favorite place in the Asheville area. We were lucky enough to be there on a clear day. The fragrant "Christmas trees" were the best part of the walk.

    1. Yes -- loved the Christmas tree smell everywhere!


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