Escape to the Mountains...

As the temperatures soar each summer many from east Tennessee head for the mountains seeking relief from the heat.  Others take off on their Hondas or Harleys eager to maneuver the winding roads as they meander along the winding asphalt under the canopy of diffused sunlight atop the mountains of Tennessee and neighboring North Carolina.  One such ‘get away drive’ is the Blue Ridge Parkway built for a scenic travel experience free from the commercial nuisance of large trucks and advertising- just pure nature at its finest-pure flora and fauna no obstructing billboards blocking your view of unforgettable landscapes and the speed limit is a mere 45 mph or lower depending on the maneuverability of the vehicles one is riding.  

There are many breath-taking vistas you are going to want to photograph so be sure to bring your favorite cameras.  The only difficulty you might encounter while composing that award winning pic might be the wind or the weather at these altitudes.  Atop the mountains you will find the wind to be a mite stronger than at lower elevations as well as the fog and/or clouds you find yourself in just might just make picture taking somewhat hazardous to say the least.  This is most evident around the Appalachian Mountain range between Tennessee and North Carolina, or the eastern continental divide which you will see well marked numerous times on this mountainous road trip.  Of course the fog or haze can add to the beauty of the scenery around Mt Mitchell, highest mountain east of the Rockies and also neighboring Grandfather Mountain, where some of the oldest rocks on earth have been found.

Highland Games

If your trip happens to be around the first couple weeks of July make sure your plans include a stopover for the Highland Games on Grandfather Mountain, home of the world famous mile-high swinging bridge, and just a short distance from the parkway, where visitors from around the world put on a spectacular performance of old world competition in Scottish Athletics, Track & Field, Marathon & Hillclimb, Scottish Fiddling, Piping & Drumming, Highland Dancing as well as Gaelic Mod.  A special field part way up the mountain is set aside and named MacRae Meadows where much of the outdoor activities are planned and performed before hundreds of spectators annually.  Along with the sporting events you can hear the piping of the bagpipes as well as drums and fiddling in both the old world and local tradition throughout the hours of fun and merriment.  Nearly a full week of gathering and competing for prizes as well as the notoriety and recognition during one of this country’s largest assemblies in commemoration of old world and Gaelic tradition.

You can enjoy all this if it doesn’t take you long to pack.  This year’s events are July 7th through 10th.