It was a lovely day for a drive today. We drove from Gatlinburg, TN to Asheville, NC. The direct line distance is around 85 miles, but we drove up US 441 and then took the Blue Ridge Parkway. Distance around 110 miles but it took the better part of 9 hours. Needless to say we made lots of stops at overlooks and even did a short hike or two.
The weather was very cooperative, with sunny skies and temperatures between 55 and 70. On the mountain peaks the wind was blowing pretty hard and at altitude (6000 feet) kind of chilly to downright cold. We really loved our hooded sweatshirts today!
As you can see the clouds were playing around the tops of some of the mountains and in some cases we were above the clouds. Made for some really beautiful views.
The streams were flowing nicely and were really fun to watch. And the fall wildflowers were in bloom. We even say a rather large lichen
Scott took a short hike up a cataract on one of the streams. The rest of us were not as adventurous and were perfectly happy to watch Scott scamper up the slippery rocks.
Then Scott and I took a half mile hike up to the top of Clingman’s Dome. It was a good hike, but at the top the wind was strong and cold and we didn’t spend much time there to look at the views.
We stopped in Cherokee, NC for lunch and after a short walk around town settled for a Chinese Buffett. To give you an idea of how leisurely we were, Cherokee is just at the closest entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Essentially we spent the morning driving about 25 miles.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a two lane, winding road, but it is well maintained. There are overlooks all along the road and the views are spectacular.
There are numerous short tunnels along the route, which given the mountainside-hugging nature of the road, was probably easier than clearing the whole mountainside.
One of the points we passed was the highest point along the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, so of course we had to take “we were here” pictures.
Here are the “caravan” cars.
For dinner we went to “The Moose Cafe” which was recommended by Southern Living. It features good old southern style cooking. On the menu were Fried Chicken, Chicken Fried Steak, and Meat Loaf.
Tomorrow we will explore the city of Asheville.