Under the Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we discovered a trail during a stop at an overlook.  The trail weaved through and around giant boulders, and followed the path of the Blue Ridge Parkway, underneath the busy scenic road.

This stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway road is the Linn Cove Viaduct, which wraps around the base of grandfather mountain and was the final piece of the parkway to be completed. The viaduct structure was needed to avoid cutting into the rocky base of the mountain and disturbing the natural habit.

One of the things I love most about exploring the mountains, are the interesting places we stumble upon, like this trail we never knew existed.  I can’t wait to go back and follow the trail further.

The Big Hike to Hawksbill Mountain

I never posted the pictures from the Big Hike last fall.

It was a one mile hike to the top of a mountain that stood tall along the Blue Ridge mountain range. Towards the end of the hike the trail was nearly straight up the side of the mountain!

The views from the top of Hawksbill Mountain were some of the best I’ve seen in the Blue Ridge. It was also exciting because we finally managed to time it right to see the perfect autumn leave colors.

It can’t really be seen in this picture, but on that rocky ledge is Wiseman’s View, which I visited years ago!  It was cool to be on the other side of it.

These mountains overlook Linville Gorge, which is a river that runs though this area deep in the valley.

We stayed on the mountain top for a while, eating the little picnic we packed and looking out at at colorful mountains.

For some reason this short weekend trip the the mountains almost  a year ago really stands out in my mind as one of my top favorite trips. The weather was perfect and everything we did was so much fun, with no stress of worries. Looking through these photos really reminded me of the time spent there and made me excited to return soon.

Falls in the Graveyard Fields

I love discovering new places on the blue ridge parkway. Some places are a long and difficult hike to get to, others are just a quick walk down some wooden stairs.
The quick walk down the wooden stairs at Graveyard Fields led to a peaceful rocky stream. I would have liked to stay here and wander around in the shallow water, but as this had been a quick little 24 hour trip to Asheville to see a concert, I hadn’t packed the right clothes for playing in a river!

 

The goal was to hike to the big upper falls of Graveyard Fields, but we got turned around and ended up back in the parking lot!

The story of that adventure is here.

Graveyard Fields

Somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a little south of Asheville, is a meadow called Graveyard Fields.
There isn’t a gravestone in sight though.
  The name came from a vast amount of trees that had been snapped in half during a violent storm and then resembled graves.
But that was many many years ago.
The trees have returned.
Much of the path though the woods is led by a winding wooden boardwalk.  Other parts are more like semi dried up mudslides that forced us to make our own little side paths to avoid getting trapped in the mud.
It was a sunny day, after rain had been falling for weeks, but dark clouds were still swirling around the skies. A reminder that the storms weren’t over yet.
We continued down the scenic trail hoping to reach the upper waterfall, but the signs were not marked well and somehow we ended up back at the parking lot without ever seeing the big waterfall.
Along the trail these little red blooms caught my eye. They had sprouted up from some lichens growing on a rock. I’ve never seen lichens bloom before so it was an exciting find!
Graveyard Fields is now at the top of my “Favorite Places on the Blue Ridge” list.

 

Abandoned Mill Village

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A few more pictures from when my friends and I explored an old Abandoned Mill Village, that was used for part of filming the Hunger Games movies.

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These little homes have sat vacant for at least forty years, while nature engulfed them. Grass grew tall around the foundation, and vines had climbed through the windows, and cracks in the walls.

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I wish I could go back in time and see what this place once was.

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It was the perfect kind of day for exploring, and a day I will never forget.

Abandoned Mill Village

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This is a sequel to my post: Cemetery in a Christmas Tree Farm

After my friends and I visited their family’s long lost graveyard, one of them had the idea of exploring an old abandoned village that had been used to film parts of the Hunger Games movies. It wasn’t far from the Christmas Tree Farm, and we were in an exploring mood so we went for it.

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I imagined the village being tucked way back into the woods, maybe down a dirt road and hard to find. But in reality it was just a few minutes off the interstate, and on either side of a busy road!

This plot of land is called the Henry River Mill Village, and was an industrial textile manufacturing operation from the early 1900s to the 1970s. The mill workers lived in the 35 homes that made up this little village, but when the mill closed down and the workers left, the homes became abandoned and forgotten.

The little mill houses have certainly degraded over the many years spent abandoned, and most of them are full of graffiti and trash. But this mill town still seems to have quite a bit of character, with the winding pathways, rolling hills and overgrown brush that wrap around the homes.

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This entire town is actually for sale!  I’ll be interested to see what becomes of this little place in the future. I’d definitely love to return to it again someday.