Mountains-to-Sea Trail – We’re off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Starting with 495.8 miles, 82,150 ft. ascent

MST17C-view on BRP near Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock to Bamboo Gap

6.5 miles, 600 ft. ascent

What are we still doing in Blowing Rock?

Sharon and I need to finish 6.5 miles of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from Blowing Rock to Bamboo Gap. This is the section that we should have done on Tuesday but not in the fog and rain. This is the section we should have done last month but we needed to hike around Doughton Park before the Blue Ridge Parkway closed in that area. So here we are, trying to fill in a puzzle.

We drop my car at Bamboo Gap, drive back to the US 321/221 entrance of the Parkway and start walking on the road. In less than 15 minutes, we see a dead deer on the road. Another deer just looks plaintively on the side of the Parkway. Maybe that’s its mother. We’re in hunting season and also mating season and deer cross the road without looking both ways.

MST17C-dead deer The deer must have been hit very recently since we didn’t see it on the way down. We’re very close to Blowing Rock and people use this section of the Parkway to commute to work.

A few minutes later, a park ranger comes down, grabs all four legs and drops it on the side of the road. That’s when I run over to photograph it.  What did you expect, a funeral?

MST17C-horse on a farmWe cross the Parkway numerous times to make sure that cars can see us. You’re supposed to walk against traffic but that rule doesn’t always make sense. We want to be on the outside of a curve, not inside where a vehicle can’t see us.

We stop at every overlook and take picture after picture of the mountain scenery.

MST17C-on a tractor Walking the road is not dull. You get to see things close up that you never see when you’re speeding down in a vehicle, like a mowing tractor left by the Parkway crew. How could I resist climbing it?

Now that we finished this small section, we are done with the Blue Ridge Parkway – a major milestone worth celebrating.

I go down to Kojays Cafe and have a cappucino. Then I go into Tucker’s on Main, the bookstore and introduce myself to the new owners. They buy three copies of Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage.

A good day all around and a great way to celebrate a milestone.

Cumulative after Day 43, 502.3 miles, 82,750 ft. ascent


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