Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Richland Balsam and Craggy Gardens (Blue Ridge Parkway 2)

Yesterday I began telling about our recent trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile (755 km) scenic byway in North Carolina and Virginia. At Richland Balsam's overlook, the highest point on the Parkway, we encountered five fellows from Florida on motorcycles.
In case you don't know, they don't have much in the way of mountains and crooked roads in Florida, and this was a special experience for the bikers. They were having a ball! There was adrenaline flowing out of every pore. If we hadn't before, we surely understood now why so many people from Florida move to the mountains of east Tennessee and western North Carolina.
We by-passed one overlook because there were so many people and cars there. A short way down the road we saw why. The waterfall, I believe, is the one called Yellowstone Falls, so-called because of a yellowish tint to the rocks from moss covering them. At least it looks like there's a yellowish tint.
 The dead trees amongst the color have been killed by the balsam wooly adelgid, a tiny insect introduced from Europe. 
Craggy Gardens supposedly is covered with Rhododendron blossoms in June. The peak, above, was covered this day with fall colors and hikers. There is a visitor center here and lots of scenery.
I put the wide-angle lens on for this one because it made me think of the panoramas jennyfreckles posts from Yorkshire. I also made sure I caught a little of the Mountain Ash berries in the lower left corner.
I included this shot of the Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel in part because it illustrates one of the short "underpass" tunnels, but mostly because I was struck by the fact it was cut through what we call a "rockhouse," or natural overhang. These rockhouses have provided temporary shelter for as long as there have been people in North America. They are now protected because they frequently turn out to be valuable archaeological sites.


  1. What a wonderful area to be visiting with all the beautiful fall color! Would love to be there.

  2. We took a drive on the Parkway Monday. We got on at Cold Mountain and drove toward Cherokee. We couldn't believe the changes since our trip up last week.

  3. I think this area is one of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. Gorgeous.

  4. I love that tunnel! Very unique. The scenery reminds me of the scenery we have here in West Virginia.