On Monday morning, the porters came and moved our RV over to the regular RV Park where we would stay for another week.
There were still a few of us RV Dreamers around, so we spent time visiting, and enjoying happy hour outside the RVs.
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.
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,
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!)
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.
This trail was a little wider, and a little more developed,
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.
We reached the overlook, and had to be really careful – the rocky surface was really slippery in the rain,
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.
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!
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!
We stopped at a few overlooks, but couldn’t see much.
We finally reached the turnoff for Mt. Mitchell State Park,
and started making the climb toward the summit – we were really in the clouds now!
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!
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.
That didn’t last long!
After the short walk we reached the summit of Mt. Mitchell – the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.
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 . . .
While they cleaned up their mess, we checked out the view . . .
or lack of a view!
This is what we were supposed to be able to see.
As we were leaving the Observation Tower, the clouds moved a little bit!
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.
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,
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!!