The beginning of March has brought us great weather. And so, for the second weekend in a row, we have found ourselves hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trees are still bare, so the views are better, looking down into the valleys.
Our intention was to hike a trail called Graveyard Fields, south of Mount Pisgah near marker 418. Unfortunately, the road was closed several miles north of the trail. We should have visited the Blue Ridge Parkway real-time road closures website for current information.
The great thing about the Parkway is there are trails everywhere. Improvising, we pulled over around mile marker 395 where a lot of cars lined the road – a certain indication of trails. We found both a forest road for hiking, biking and horse back riding; and a more challenging trail going up the mountain which we discovered is part of the Mountain to Sea trail.
Mountain to Sea is a project that will connect over 900 miles of North Carolina trails from the mountains in the western part of the state to the eastern coast. Of course the Asheville area is lucky enough to have local access to these trails!
The trail climbed up the mountain and followed a ridge which is the natural border between the National Park land and North Carolina game lands. The trail is well maintained and has views in all directions. Here are some pictures we took along the way.
There’s a saying in the mountains of North Carolina. If you don’t like the weather here, wait 15 minutes; it will change. We do have four distinct seasons, and sometimes two in the same month. This February lives up to that reputation. A week ago, there was several inches of snow on the ground.
Today, motorcycles and bicycles were everywhere. The sky was blue. Children and dogs roamed the trails and water flowed. The temperature was in the mid 60s. We hiked the trails near Craven Gap along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This trail has the notoriety of having been trekked by the President and the First Lady on one of their recent trips to Asheville.
By mid-week, those same trails will be slick and icicles will form once again. The only thing you can count on is rapid weather changes, sometimes without notice. Nevertheless, outdoor activities thrive even in the winter in North Carolina. Come see what makes the Asheville area such a wonderful place to live. For more information on local hiking trails, go to http://www.exploreasheville.com/things-to-do/hiking-trails/craven-gap/
Hurricane Irene has been all over the national news this week. West coast relatives have been calling with concern over the threat of Irene. Although we have had heavy rain from hurricanes traveling through the gulf, Western North Carolina is quite a safe distance from the North Carolina Coast. In fact, it’s actually a closer drive to the South Carolina coast, specifically Charleston.
Looking to escape Atlantic coast hurricanes? Look no further than the mountains of North Carolina. While storm surges breach sea walls, you could be enjoying waterfalls. Is your favorite restaurant boarded up until the storm passes? Asheville has some of the finest dining in the southeast. Avoid the shelter and stay in a historic bed and breakfast in Hendersonville.
Be safe. Be smart. Now would be a good time to visit the mountains!