Blairsville, Ga (high 85, low 52)
Did you notice our predicted high temps today? Yep. 85 degrees. No fear, the high for tomorrow is supposed to be 60 degrees with a low of 38 for the next few nights. We’ve had perfect weather until the last few days when we had a bit of a heat wave.
Our Tampa/Wesley Chapel friends arrived here about the time of the heat wave. Hummmmm?
Fall in the north Georgia mountains is the best time to be here and we try to enjoy every day. Unfortunately, the fall foliage show only lasts a short time, so you have to catch it while you can and that means a lot of driving if you want to catch the best shows.
Last week we took a very long drive up to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’m behind on my posting but will post some pictures later.
Twice this week, we did a fall foliage tour nearby on Brasstown Bald Mountain, which is the highest peak in Georgia. It was gorgeous. More on that later.
We got up and were on the road by 6:40 am yesterday morning. It was dark when we left and we normally try not to drive at dark.
It’s about 80 miles from here to Cherokee, NC which is the beginning (for us) of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s actually the end, I guess since it starts at mile marker 1 in Virginia, and ends at mile marker 469 in Cherokee.
We took the scenic route from Hayesville, NC on Highway 64. Shortly after we left Hayesville, the colors started getting very pretty. As we approached Cherokee, the color was faded.
It was pretty foggy as you can see.
Of course, the Appalachian mountains, whether they be called the Blue Ridge, the Smoky, or the Appalachians, are noted for being “smoky.”
It started off pretty chilly with temps in the 50’s, but by mid afternoon it was getting pretty warm.
We make a quick stop at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee. There is a herd of elk that often hang out there. We were hoping to see the herd with the big bull Elk.
We only saw a young bull that was not allowed to be around the herd. There is one bull elk in charge and he chases any other males away.
This is rutting season (mating) to you might be lucky and hear them bugle. Fighting is common among the males.
The entrance to the Blue Ridge is a short drive away. Getting a picture of the entrance sign, is about as difficult as getting a picture of the Southernmost sign in Key West.
The fall color wasn’t great in Cherokee, but it started to change very quickly as soon as we got on the Parkway.
The nice thing about the Blue Ridge is that there are a LOT of scenic overlooks. Some have picnic tables and some have nearby hiking trails.
There are many tunnels on the parkway. A lot of people take motorhomes and drive the Blue Ridge.
I don’t think we’ll be taking our motorhome up there anytime soon. There are others not this tall.
This next overlook was was about as high as we got in elevation. The trees had really lost a lot of leaves and the color was fading. We didn’t go any further but it appeared the color was better at lower elevations.
I loved all the Blue Spruce trees that were at this overlook. Sadly there were many dead ones due to some sort of blight.
You can see all the bare trees.
We would have loved to have been able to keep on driving and heading further north, but unfortunately, we had to head back home.
We left the parkway and took a side road back to Cherokee. It was Al’s choice. My vote was to stay on the parkway. He had to admit I was right and the parkway would have been the more scenic. He thought it was going to be a pretty mountain road but it turned out to be a busy road with tons of electric poles and wires and trashy homes and businesses. The expressway has no businesses and only occasionally can you see a home off in the distance up on a mountain.
We ended up back at the visitor center in Cherokee, hoping to catch the elk herd. They are known to be there grazing in the field early morning and late afternoon.
Everybody knows this and the cars were piling into the visitor center. It reminded me of going to a drive in theater years ago.
We saw an elk cow at the edge of the field, and felt sure the rest would show up soon, but we were so tired by this time and we still had a two hour drive home, so we left before the herd came.
We had a lovely day and thoroughly enjoyed our drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.