Sunday, June 19, 2022

High Country Getaway

Blue Ridge Parkway
The Charlotte area had some record-breaking heat last week, so we decided to escape to the North Carolina high country for a couple of days. Encompassing seven counties in the northern part of the state, the high country is typically much cooler than the counties down south.

We left Thursday morning, driving straight to our first destination. Craggy Gardens, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and part of the National Park Service, is known for its abundance of rhododendrons. Peak season at this altitude of 5,860 feet is mid-June, so our timing was perfect. While it was a bit overcast when we arrived, the cloud cover did clear as we hiked the area. The low 70s temperature was a delight after the high heat and humidity we had left behind.

Nearby the Craggy Gardens is Mount Mitchell. That was the next stop on our itinerary. At 6,684 feet, it is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Established in 1915, the 4,789-acres became the first state park in North Carolina. Unfortunately the peak was shrouded in clouds the day of our visit, so visibility was nil. 

We spent the night in the Linville Falls community at an old lodge. While it was quaint, clean and beautifully maintained, it had no WiFi to speak of and we had zero cell service. It also had no air conditioning in the rooms. While that might not be a problem normally, the humidity was extremely high and the room was sticky. With its location between two highways, leaving the windows open at night was not an option. Suffice it to say, neither one of us slept well that night.

The next morning we made the short drive down the highway to Linville Falls. While we have hiked in this park before, this time we practically had the place to ourselves. That was a refreshing change from our last hike where Covid brought everyone and their brother out into nature. It was a lovely way to spend the morning. We grabbed lunch in Morganton before heading home. It was a short but very nice change of pace for us.

Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Linville Falls

No comments: