Two hikes today in roughly the same area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had thought that the first one would be easy but is was not.
The Lynn Cove Viaduct is a bridge on the Parkway that was built to go over an environmentally sensitive area. It was built section by section using the completed sections as a base to add the next. In this way the ground underneath was touched as little as possible.
From the visitor’s center, near the viaduct, there is a 1 mile return trail to a classic viewpoint of the bridge. The first 0.15 miles go to a viewpoint under the bridge. It is paved, flat and easy. It lulls people into a false sense of security. The rest of the trail is very rocky with huge steps up and down, which was tough for Jennie.
One interesting thing I noticed about the supports is that the bridge seem to sit on a point in the middle, with the outside parts just to provide emergency support.
The section are held together by steel cable under tension so I guess it just need the single point of support at each post.
The trails gets tougher.
We came to thus huge fallen slab and realized the trail goes under it.
Coming out the top.
Another Alien tree sucking the life out of a rock.
There was lots of rock climbing and this cliff to walk under.
We got a nice break on the bridge.
The trail continues on a long way. The view point is actually on a very inconspicuous side trail that you have to scramble down and then up on a rocky perch.
Too bad it wasn’t a bit sunnier.
Heading back, can you tell that Jennie is in an “Are we there yet?” mood.
The next hike started just over a mile farther north at an overlook. The 1.5 mile return trail takes you up 480 vertical feet to the top of Rough Ridge. Let’s just say that it lives up to its name.
Right from the parking we had to climb over these logs that had been put in place to help stop erosion but had obviously failed.
A nice arched bridge to give you a break.
And then endless rock steps. It was not too steep but the steps were tall and the rocks were wet and slippery.
Next it was into a narrow tunnel in the rhododendrons but now they are in bloom.
After about 1/3 of a mile you come to 200 feet of boardwalk to protect some fragile ground and plants.
An interesting rock formation. We couldn’t decide what it most looked like. We settled on a gargoyle after all the ones we had seen at the Biltmore Estate.
Lots of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrons.
You could also perch yourself out on the overhanging rock. Jennie declined.
You can see the viaduct off to the right.
Looking up the ridge behind us.
We will turnaround at the top but our next view point is that outcropping of rock in the upper left, below.
Our future lunch spot at the top.
The next viewpoint.
Another shot when we were heading back down.
Looking back down at the boardwalk.
This tree looked like it had a bunch of mouths yelling “FEED ME!”.
A new plant for us called Turkey Beard.
The bushes got closer to Jennie sized as we neared the top.
We were initially going to sit and have lunch at the very top.
But there were no flat spots and the closeness to the edge was too much for Jennie.
Here is a side view.
We picked a nice flat spot a little farther downhill.
The very top got pretty crowded.
Heading back down. Our knees were sore at the bottom from all the big steps but what a view at the top.
On the drive back we headed into town to try and get our cellular hotspot to connect. It struggled a lot so we ended up using the WIFI at a MacDonald's. Going home from there we discovered that the hotspot got a fairly good connection only a few miles from the campground.