MST through Asheville

Starting with 78.7 miles, 11,700 ft.

MST sign - 091207The Blue Ridge Parkway has been closed for a couple of weeks – here and there. The problem is that now it’s closed from MP 393, French Broad River Overlook south to the Smokies.

Sharon was in Asheville. We wanted to do some MST hiking so we needed to be inventive.

Reluctantly, we decided to skip ahead east and do a couple of sections through Asheville. The Parkway is almost never closed in Asheville. So we placed a car at the Folk Art Center MP 382 and start down at NC 191 MP 393.5. I was hoping that we could do the whole MST continuously but as long as we’re going west to east, I figure we were doing OK.

Above I-26 - 091207This section offers urban hiking or commuter hiking. First we crossed over I-26 and waved at the drivers below – truck drivers waved back.

Then we paralleled a fence closing off Biltmore Farms, an upscale housing development. Biltmore Farms, an offshoot of Biltmore Estate, was founded in 1897, two years after George Vanderbilt built his home in Asheville. The enterprise really did sell dairy products until it sold the business in 1985. Then it went into the construction business. The houses that we could see were gigantic.

We were walking through land that had been lived on. English Ivy - 091207The most obvious sign was English Ivy which was crawling on trees and spreading out on the ground.

Then a dog running free was followed by a woman on a cell phone. We tried to tell her that dogs had to be kept on a leash on the Parkway but she blew us off. When I do see a person walking a dog on a leash, I make sure to thank them.

MST - destination center mileage 2MST-Destination Center mileage 1Finally we reached the split between the Parkway Destination Center and the Folk Art Center. There was a dispute in the signs. One sign said 2.2 miles to the Folk Art Center and the other right next to it said 2.5 miles.

You would think that they would get it together.

We got to the Folk Art Center at about 3 P.M., having walked 13.4 miles – not bad.

Cumulative after Day 6 – 92.1 miles, 13,650 ft. ascent

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