Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway


So yesterday a fellow intern and I decided to do a short drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not being from the area, I wasn’t entirely sure where to get on the pkway, but that was easily remedied. There’s an entrance only a few miles from my house it turns out.

I’d read in an old issue of WNC Magazine that you can see the Biltmore from milepost 395 without paying the HIGH ($40) admission price to the estate. So naturally I was like AWESOME!  Let’s go!  We actually got on somewhere around MP 391, so MP 395 was only a few miles south.  We drove for about a half-mile and then BOOM – road closed.

Somewhere near MP 385.  The sky in this pic originally looked like the sky in the pic below.

The thing about the BRP in the winter is that segments of the road are prone to sporadic and inexplicable closures. I guess the park rangers develop a serious God complex and/or desire to ruin my afternoon.  So we turned around.  Guess my photo-op will have to wait for another day.  I really wasn’t too bummed.  Shockingly, Weather.com’s forecast was INCORRECT and the predicted sunny, clear skies had quickly turned into gray and overcast, leaving little to no color in most of my landscape photographs.  BLEH.  

See what I mean about the sky? Ew.

North we drove.  The visitor center is at MP 382, so I decided to go there and see if there was a book or map or magical list of beautiful photo-ops.  On the way, we braved switchback roads and tested Wanda the Honda CR-V’s brakes. I kept seeing cars pulled off to the side of the road and felt like I was being left out of some amazing secret. I kept stopping to see what I was missing, but usually came to the conclusion that these people were in fact fans of the wilderness and not just “shot seekers.”  The section on the road we were on was at a relatively low elevation so I didn’t get to experience any awesome overlooks or mountainscapes, but after photoshopping the hell out of some pretty boring photos, I got some decent results.

I’ll test out the BRP another day.  There are tons of things I still want to take pictures of.
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