It was time again, to go explore and get lost in the mountains. We left work early on a Friday afternoon and the weekend was packed with adventures.
Barely an hour down the interstate and the Blue Ridge mountains suddenly appear straight ahead.
I had picked out a new trail to hike this time, one that leads to the top of one of the mountain ridges. I recognize the mountain peak as we drive down the interstate. The one to the right in this picture.
It's higher than I expected.
It's going to be a really big hike.
Highway 80 is the curviest road I've ever been on. It goes straight up the side of the mountain, with steep drops straight down.
It was perfect timing for the tree's best autumn colors. We headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway to one of our favorite stops, Craggy Gardens.
We ventured through the craggy trees to the top of the little mountain, as the sun began to go down.
But we didn't stay for the sunset because it became too crowded with people taking selfies.
We were tired and hungry by the time we got back to the motel, so we walked in the cold night air up the road to a little German restaurant, where we ate a bunch of hearty junk.
I ate spaetzle for the first time. Also some breaded warm cheese bites. Wow.
After dinner I sat out in the cold and took pictures of the sky.
The next morning, I drove for the first time, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It was a bit fun, and a bit scary. I screamed a lot.
I drove us past an apple orchard to the town of Little Switzerland where we explored an old bookstore.
The next stop was the BIG HIKE.
We turned down smaller and smaller roads, until we eventually came to a narrow dirt road that led to the hiking trail. We ventured down the path, which got steeper and steeper the further we went.
Soon we were climbing over boulders, nearly straight up. I wondered if the big hike was a bad idea.
After an hour we made it to the top. We could see for miles.
The big hike was NOT a bad idea!
After being way up in the clouds, it seemed like a good idea to go way deep underground.
In a cave.
That night we drove along the parkway at night, stopping at overlooks to take pictures, while I freaked out at what could be lurking in the dark.
On the final morning of our mountain adventure, we watched the sunrise before traveling up the parkway to see what else we could find before returning home.
Our adventures led us to Linville falls, a place we had been to a few times already, but this time we decided to hike a different trail, one that was less busy.
Back on the road, we ended up finding another trail that winds around under the parkway and around some huge rocks. The trail was very long but we didn't have time to walk the entire length. It will be first on the list next time.
I started reminiscing about this trip as soon as we returned back home. The memories are so ingrained in my mind.
I don't think it will be long before we return to explore the Blue Ridge mountains once again.