Wednesday, June 3, 2015

RV Dreams Rally–Hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Whitewater Rafting Group

Thursday was the whitewater rafting group outing, which Tom and Bryce were going on, so when Nancy and Bill planned a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway with visits to the Visitor Center and Folk Art Center, along with a couple of short, moderately difficult hikes, I signed on.  Don and Lois went, too, so I rode with them.

(About half of the pictures in today’s post are from Nancy – she was gracious enough to share her pictures with the group!)

Our hiking group met at 8:30, which was no problem for me since I was up with the guys at 5:00am!

Gathering for a hike

Waiting for our last couple to join us!

Uh-Oh!  Latecomers!

We took I-40 to the “beginning” of the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Asheville, where the Visitor Center is located.

In the Visitor Center, we checked out the displays,

Visitor Center Displays


In the Visitor Center

including some of the interactive displays,

How many engineers . . . ?

Apparantly a few more are needed!











and watched the movie that highlighted the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway and some of the history and culture found along the 400+ mile-long road. 

The movie focused on several of the local craftsmen in the area, including this quilter – I just had to take a picture of the screen for my sisters.  Check out her fabric collection!!

For my sisters

From the Visitor Center, we continued to the Folk Art Center. 

Folk Art Center


Inside were displays of the works of many local artisans – quilters, furniture makers, painters.  So many beautiful things!






Photography of the artwork wasn’t allowed, but I did get one quick picture from the upper level.


Just one picture -- not of anything in particular!

Nancy got a picture of the group as we left the Folk Art Center.

At the Folk Art Center

After the Folk Art Center, we made our way up onto the Parkway.

View of the Blue Ridge

Mountains and Valleys










Bill & Nancy were in the lead, and suddenly came to a stop.  There was a bear in the middle of the road! 

We spotted a bear!

We could see it from Don’s truck, but couldn’t get a picture of it before it ran off into the woods.  Nancy got some great shots, though!

He took off into the woods!

We continued up the Parkway until we reached the location of our first hike, Craggy Gardens, at 5600 feet.  It’s been awhile since I’ve hiked at any kind of elevation, and I could feel it in my lungs!

Looking Along the Ridge

Over 5600 feet up!











After a quick stop at the little Visitor Center,

Our first hike of the day

we all grabbed our packed lunches and headed up the trail.

Hike #1

Through the rhodedendron tunnel


We were walking through a tunnel of rhododendrons, which was pretty cool – and in a few weeks when they were in bloom, would be incredibly beautiful!


I did find a few flowers in bloom.

A few in bloom


We made our way up through the tunnel,

Hiking through the tunnel

until we reached our lunch spot – a picnic shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

A nice shelter for lunch

Nancy got some nice pictures of all of our hikers.

Dan & Tricia

Dan and Tricia

Don & Lois

Don and Lois











David & Sharon

David and Sharon

Bonnie & her husband

Bonnie and










and our fearless leaders, Nancy and Bill . . . and Walt!

Bill and Nancy . . . and Senor Walt!

So, we enjoyed our lunch and enjoyed the view.  We could see some people off to the west – way up on top of a rock . . . little did we know, that was our next destination!

Back at the parking lot, we re-grouped, used the bathrooms,

Resting ofter the first hike

and got ready to move to the next hiking location.

It was just a short drive a little further up the Parkway and through a tunnel, to Craggy Dome.

Arriving at Hike #2

Craggy Dome










We gathered for a group picture.

Craggy Dome Hikers

Then it was time to head up the trail – we weren’t wasting much time, since some dark clouds were moving in!

interesting tree


There were interesting trees,

and rocks to climb over,

Continuing up

and plenty of places for photographs!

Photo Op -- are they paparazzi??


Awww . . . such cute couples!

David and Sharon


We continued the climb,

Continuing up

and the views just kept getting better and better!

Everyone's having fun!

The guys like the view from the top of this boulder.


Don got a little excite when he saw them up there, and decided to scramble up the side of the rock!

He made it!

Don takes the hard way up!

He really didn’t need to, though . . . the trail looped around and up, to the top of the rock!

Don made it up there!

We reached a clearing, and the views were remarkable!

Blue Ridge Parkway

Rain on the way!











There’s the roof of the shelter where we had eaten lunch!

Our lunch stop

A little further up


We only had a little bit more of a climb to get to the summit!


Some of our group was already there!

That’s the rock that we had seen people on earlier – now we know how they got there!




They made it to the top!

At the summit!


We made it to the summit!











Now it’s time for another group picture . . .

We reached the summit!

or two!

Nancy called it the silly pose!

The rain was getting close, so we began a quick descent!

We had just started down when Nancy said, “Oh, I forgot to take a panoramic shot – be right back!”, so I’ve definitely got to include those!

What an amazing view!

The view from the summit

Summit View #2

The photographer poses for a picture on the way back down!

Hi Nancy!

The rain was just getting started as we got back to the trucks, so we quickly got in and made our way back down off the mountain!

Just in time!

Another great day with a great group of RV-Dreamers!


  1. Wonderful post of a really FUN day!! Nice of the rain to hold off until we finished all we had set out to accomplish;-) The Blue Ridge Parkway has moved way up on my list of favorite places!!! Perhaps it is hiking it with friends that made it so special:o))

  2. Thanks for the wonderful tour. We've been to all of those places and it was nice to remember. I remember that rhododendron tunnel. We were there in the fall and vowed to come back in the spring when it was in full bloom.

  3. Glad you got a chance to explore the beauty hidden off the Parkway.
    We tried finding the Linville Falls that day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. Awesome! I know several of those folks! Wish we could have been there :-)

  5. Awesome!!! Wished we had more time --- I would have loved this hike!! Great post and amazing views


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