Late Summer on a Deserted Parkway

If you want to have the Blue Ridge Parkway to yourself, go on a Monday morning in late August. I only met four cars from the Linville Falls entrance driving south to the Little Switzerland exit. From the first overlook looking west, the sky was that Carolina Blue that frames everything so perfectly.

Working my way through the four “Circle Curves”, I arrived at my favorite Overlook north of Mt. Mitchell, at 3,400 feet. The sheer granite face opposite the view is always colorful, no matter the season.

But the real reward is the limitless stretch of valley looking southeast toward Marion. with the Black Mountains and Mt. Mitchell barely visible along the southern horizon.

The first color of autumn is already happening just down from the granite wall.

At 3,700 feet, Dobson’s Knob south of Linville Gorge dominates the eastern view. Located just north of Marion, this impressive mountain is separate from Linville Gorge mountains, and its steep, rocky, western face rises above a large, mostly flat plain, allowing breathtaking long range views of its base, reminiscent of the Alps in Germany and Austria. This mountain has no human development above its base because it is so rugged. The “Mountain to Sea Trail” passes over the summit, after a difficult six mile climb, suggested only for the most hardy of hikers.

Dobson’s Knob in a winter view… That isn’t snow, just a bright Sun on the rocky face.

I couldn’t resist a stroll along the wall while I had the Overlook to myself…

Further south, another Overlook featured a garden of Milk Weed that attracted Butterflys and Bees to its sweet nectar…

The west rim of Linville Gorge was in a blue haze.

Cruising almost alone along the most traveled highway in the entire National Park system is a treat that you must experience.

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