Thursday and Friday, August 6-7—Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell

Thursday was uneventful as I stayed in the motorhome most of the day while Kay shopped (looked).

Most mornings, I am so slow to get going; quite a difference from back in the working days when I hit the ground running. It seems that we’ve developed a routine of going out every other day, and today (Friday) was the day! After homemade breakfast burritos, we drove I-40 to Asheville, and then the Blue Ridge Parkway north up, up, and up to mile-high Craggy Gardens. As we approached the area, a sign appeared for the Craggy Picnic Area to the left. It was only a short drive to the parking area. From there, we hiked upward almost a mile to the 5,680 ft high Craggy Flats, eating a blueberry or two along the way.

Kay on the trail to Craggy Gardens
Lots of blueberries, though the ones we ate were a little tart

Even though expecting it, the “bald” surprised us as it resembled a palette of colors—generated by the numerous wildflowers in bloom. One can only imagine what it would be like in mid-June when the pink and purple blooms of Catawba rhododendrons blanket the area. It was pleasantly surprising to observe almost everyone hiking the trails wore masks, including children; says a lot about those who enjoy nature!

Turk’s Cap Lily was one of my favorites
These birds were everywhere—in the shrubs, on the trail, and in the grass

Twisted, jagged, rocky “crags” give Craggy Gardens its name, but these high elevation summits are home to the most spectacular floral display along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway corridor. Craggy Gardens has been recognized by the state of North Carolina as a Natural Heritage Area.

Just as we were finishing the hike, it began sprinkling and then turning into a full blown rain. From Craggy Gardens, we drove in the deluge of rain to Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River at an elevation of 6,684 feet.

Driving through the clouds at elevation 6,000+ feet

The state highway took us almost all the way to the top. With continuing rain, we did not hike the few feet to the summit, but grabbed a quick photo our the wind. It continued raining most of the afternoon, but quit as we returned to the motorhome about 6 PM.

Parking area near the summit of Mount Mitchell

2 thoughts on “Thursday and Friday, August 6-7—Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell

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