Blue Ridge Parkway Getaway

It's been too long since we've taken a day off and spent it the way we used to. Our excuse for today's day off was to celebrate Andrew's birthday (belated) and Tybee's birthday (early). We kept it simple and easy because Tybee's hiking mileage is limited. But it was an amazing (and unexpectedly chilly) day and we wondered (again) why we wanted to leave Asheville.

We hit the parkway and decided to go north, which we don't usually go to, and check out a new section of the Mountains to Sea Trail.

 

View from Craggy Dome Overlook. The mountain is half covered in rime ice.

Found out that Jerud hasn't been to Mt. Mitchell State Park since he was little so we swung by the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. This view is of the road leading from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the top of Mt. Mitchell where the photo is taken.

Obligatory summit photo.

The start of the walkway that leads to the circular observation deck.

Mt. Mitchell is named after Prof. Elisha Mitchell who determined the height of the peak in 1835.

 
 

At 6,683 ft. there's usually a 10+* temperature difference between the summit and town. It was super windy up top today.

 
 

Majority of the mountain is covered by red spruce and Fraser fir trees. Sadly most of the Fraser fir trees are dying because of Balsam wooly adelgid. Acid rain has also effected the evergreens.

We started our hike on the Mountains to Sea Trail from Glassmine Falls Overlook.

 
 

Tyki (pictured) and Tybee couldn't have been happier on the trail.

 
 

This flower totally caught me by surprise - I have never seen it before. Found out that it's a Closed Bottle Gentian. This flower never opens.

Leaves are starting to change colors at this higher elevation. The wild blueberry bushes are turning red.

 
 

Aw, rhododendron tunnels.

Another plant I had never seen before - actually it's just the brighter green parts that I've never see. This is Lycopodium, aka club moss.

 
 

Me and the soon to be birthday girl.