Late Winter on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Cruising west toward the Blue Ridge Parkway on I-40, the Black Mountains loomed large on the horizon

At the 3,000 foot level, the sky was even more blue…

Opposite the view above, the rugged ridgetop was the perfect home to Pine trees…

At the 4,000 foot level, this ice wall was a dramatic reminder that this area is the main Watershed district for Asheville and much of western North Carolina…

At the 4,500 foot level, Craggy Gardens, usually crowded with tourist hiking to the Rhododendron Gardens in late May, had a few hardy visitors, some who chose to climb to the summit of Craggy Peak, in spite of near freezing temperatures.

Looking toward the east, the Asheville Reservoir was a deep blue, and the Piedmont Plateau was clearly visible over the Eastern Continental Divide and the mountains along the Blue Ridge Escarpment…

Toward the northwest, the suburbs of Asheville far below, contrast with the wall of mountains along the Tennessee border…

Climbing to the 5,500 foot level below Mt. Mitchell’s 6,700 peak, a wildfire above the reservoir added blue smoke to an already blue natural haze…

At this level, the bare winter forest is replaced by Balsam Spruce and Douglas Fir to mimic the Canadian mountains a thousand miles to the north…

Moving past Mt. Mitchell, the Canadian forest gave way to the bare woods below 3,500 feet. Looking toward the east, the colorless ridges of the Pisgah National Forest framed the mountains north of Lake Lure…

This Skeleton Tree was a fitting site to end a remarkable drive on America’s most scenic roadway.

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