Smokey Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunday and it is still raining, 6 days we have been in the rain.  It stopped long enough this morning for Brady to go up on the roof and fix the bathroom skylight cover.  Hurray! 

We broke camp with the intention of moving the 50 miles or so into Smokey Mountain National Park, but with so much rain and another full week predicted, we decided to keep moving.  The road takes us through the Smokey Mountains, so we can still see much of the scenery.

The river was running full from all the rain.

At Ashville, NC we turned onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It like the Trace is part of the National Park System, though not technically a Park.   It runs for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.  At the southern end it starts at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The Parkway, has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946. 

The Parkway is a narrow, winding two lane road that climbs to over 5,000 feet and frequently offers steep drop offs on one or both sides.  While this is typically something that we enjoy driving, today much of the higher elevations were shrouded in the clouds, so that you could not see 10 feet in front of you.  Not too fun when the road takes a sharp turn and there is no guard rail or even road markers.  We left the Parkway at Marion for safer, lower, wider roads.  .This was as intense a drive as anything we have driven while pulling the 5th-wheel including the Pacific Coast Highway.

But all in all, we love the area.  As we drive through the wilderness areas, in my mind’s eye, I can see beloved fictional characters like Jamie Frazier of Outlander fame, or Jonathan Zane and Wetzel from Zane Grey’s Pioneer series, or even Daniel Boone or a long distant Cherokee relative moving silently though the woods, hunting, fishing or exploring.  Such wonderful adventures I have had with these characters, and now I am visiting the places they brought to life for me.

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