Up to the icicles on the Blue Ridge Parkway

What does the Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s favorite drive, look like in winter without its cars?

It was 45 degrees this morning, a heat wave at least by January standards. I went on a Carolina Mountain Club hike thinking that the icicles, the highlight of the hike, would have melted away. But we were not disappointed.

Eight of us hiked up Case Camp Ridge Trail in Pisgah National Forest, a long steep climb.

On the way, we saw the strangest thing, a mirror stuck in a tree. Was someone going to use it to put on lipstick? We figured a mountain biker probably lost it on the way down and someone shoved into a tree trunk.

At this point, no one would think of pulling the mirror out of the branch. So the question is “When does a piece of litter, the mirror, become an artifact?” Maybe in fifty years.

The Parkway is closed to cars but not to hikers. It is perfectly fine to walk the road. We accessed the Mountains-to-Sea Trail close to Cherry Cove Overlook for a short while, then went down on the Parkway. We kept looking out for cars, knowing full well that there weren’t any.

Magnificent icicle formations clung to the rocks. See the picture above. Some pieces had fallen on the road and were still falling as we walked. We were careful not to stand too close to the rocks, lest we get hit with chunks of ice on its way down.

The fog prevented me from taking prize-winning photographs but that same fog added to the eery atmosphere. I just wasn’t clever enough to record it right.

We walked down Seniard Ridge Trail, first very steeply, then on a comfortable road, back to our cars.


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