Blue Ridge Parkway South of Blowing Rock

10/18/13 Friday at Lenoir, NC (Green Mountain Park Resort-TT/MA)

Today dawned bright with blue skies and sunshine! Because we had made our plans, we were actually off on our trek by just after 9 am, with lunches packed. It was such a perfect day for the Parkway that we ran into crowds of people on the road as well as the trails. So exciting to have all this sunshine and the shutdown over!

Images from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Path in Moses H Cone Memorial Park-out of Blowing Rock town


The Cone’s Manor and scenes from the Craft Center that it holds now, where a man was demonstrating how he turns a bowl on a lathe

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We hiked a lot today. Sure felt good, but we were out of shape. This is from the Sims Overlook (Green Knob Trail).

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Julian Price Memorial Park and Price Lake

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On the road again. The couple on the motorcycle have a child in their sidecar. Great place to take a motorcycle ride!


Green Mountain-our Miss Zanzibar might be perched somewhere on that mountain.


Boulder Field Overlook

IMG_2945 Boulder Mountain Overlook

Linn Cove Viaduct-a long bridge with a series of spans supported on piers. This one is 1243 feet long. It’s made of 153 precast concrete sections held in place with wire cables and epoxy glue. No two sections are exactly the same (this is an “S” curve roadbed) and only one section is straight and square. Each section weighs nearly 100,000 lbs. Linn Cove Viaduct is the first in this country to lay progressive placement of sections, that is, workmen, materials and men move on the completed bridge to place successive sections. Thus little or no damage is caused to the landscape over which it is constructed. This is the final link of the Parkway. It opened on 9/11/87, EXACTLY 52 years after construction of the Parkway began. There was the most gorgeous view of colors and the S curve of this viaduct from one spot, where we weren’t allowed to stop. SO frustrating to us photographers.

IMG_2979 IMG_2949 IMG_2966 IMG_2969 IMG_2974ON the Viaduct, facing Grandfather Mountain

IMG_2955 On Linn Cove Viaduct facing Grandfather Mnt

Approaching Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center


Hiking part of the Tanawha trail at that Visitor Center

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On our next hike, to Flat Rock, they explained several of their trees and plants. Thank heavens were were looking for this milepost (308.2), because the signs were missing. We wouldn’t have stopped here.

Mountain Winterberry, a holly.  Can you find the one berry?

IMG_3014Galax, carpeting the forest floor, is sold to florists

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Cucumber Tree-sprinkled in Appalachians, with red cucumber shaped fruit for squirrels


Flat Rock, a massive outcrop of Quartzite with ribbons of white quartz. It’s “bathtubs” are shallow water basins formed by wind, rain and cold


These evergreens remind me of the California coast

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Love the color


Linville Falls trails

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At this point we asked the Park Ranger about coming back to Lenoir via Hwy 181. He said it was curvy and it required a lot of your brakes, but it was a good road. So we took it, then Hwy 90 via Brown Mountain Beach Road. Shorter than any other option, but they were very twisty and hilly two lane roads.

Sure miss our hot tub at home. Don’t get me wrong. This was one of the most fun, beautiful days we’ve experienced. Today I often noted how I love walking in the woods again.


About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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