The Long Rider Returns

I finished the ride today, passing through my two favorite places on the Parkway. The first was Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather is the home of the mighty Linn Cove Viaduct, the most complexly engineered stone bridge ever built.

Grandfather Mountain is majestic and beautiful, and regularly featured here over the years because it is the home of the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games. I also passed by it on another long motorcycle ride some years ago.

It was an absolutely perfect morning in Linn Cove. I found it very hard to leave -- I often have the sense there that I never want to leave -- and might well not have done so if it had not been for the thought of my wife waiting at home. She had been expressive of missing me on the phone the night before, however, and, well, somehow I found the strength to ride away from a place of breathtaking beauty.

At some point between Blowing Rock and Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway leaves the true Blue Ridge, and begins traveling along the crests of other ridges. North of Asheville, it follows the crest of the Great Craggy Mountains. (AVI will have seen this part recently on his trip to Craggy Gardens). Then, south of Asheville, the parkway mounts the Pisgah Ridge. The Pisgah Ridge section is the highest section of the parkway, frequently over five thousand feet and at one point well over six thousand.

The Pisgah ridge is also where two of North Carolina's National Forests come together. The northern forest is itself called the Pisgah National Forest, and the southern and western one is the Nantahala (a Cherokee word that means, I am told, 'the land where the sun sets at noon' -- which is certainly true of the Nantahala Gorge, a steep-sided festival of waterfalls).

This is the section of the parkway, more than any other, that gives you the feeling of being in a wild world without civilization -- except for the road itself. You can see for miles and miles, and all away below you are ranks upon ranks of mountains and valleys, covered in forest, with no cities in sight.

There are some impressive physical features, though, such as Looking Glass Rock.

The parkway finally ends at the southern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here it intersects US 441, which goes south away out of the park and into the Cherokee reservation held by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Turn north, and you will come at last to Gatlinburg -- but not before seeing some of the most striking and beautiful country in the world.

But that ride is for another day.


Gringo said...

Welcome back, chopper.

ymarsakar said...

Georgia has aggroed the Leftist propaganda organs over this heartbeat abortion bill.

It'll be interesting to see who will crack. Disney is "punishing" Georgia by pulling Disney Plus and other products out.

In America, people boycott corporations. In Russia, corporations boycott you. Hahah.

Grim said...

Thanks, Gringo.