Carolina Wild Photo (the blog)

Winding Roads, Scenic Views and the Underground

by on Sep.11, 2017, under Rants, Raves & Ramblings

Looking Glass Rock, Blue Ridge Parkway The photo at right is of Looking Glass Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Obviously it’s not my usual feathery frocked subject matter – but still, this all started with a couple of “birds”. You see, I’ve driven a red Firebird for the past 23 years . . .  actually two red Firebirds . . . a ’94 Firebird, then a 2002 Firebird. I recently sold the 2002 Firebird that I’d driven for the last 15 years, and brought home a 2018 Camaro. I was itching to get the new Camaro out on the road and try it out. Those twisted, winding mountain roads in the Great Smokies were calling to me.

Formations in Tuckaleechee Cavern I got the chance to scratch that itch this past weekend. It started with a pleasant five hour drive on a beautiful day with the windows down, cruising along I-40 to the Tennessee foothills, arriving in Sevierville, TN, to see Forbidden Caverns. From there the next stop was Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, TN. To be honest, neither of these caverns could hold a candle to the Luray Caverns in Virginia we had seen some years ago. Still, they were interesting enough. They gave us a chance to stretch our legs, and provided a sufficient excuse to drive so far to get to the mountains.
Waterfall in Tuckaleechee Cavern
Along the way between the two caverns we discovered a covered bridge . . . the Harrisburg Covered Bridge, and were surprised to also discover that Tennessee has a mountain parkway of it’s own, called the Tennessee Foothills Parkway. With such beautiful weather and no pressing time restrictions, there was no excuse not to make detours to take in both of these sights.
View from an overlook along the Parkway The covered bridge was interesting, though I think it would be a little more photogenic if we returned in the Fall for photos with autumn colors. There were some nice views along the northern section of the Foothills Parkway, which is all we took time to see. Again, coming back here in the Fall could prove a great place to get photos once the leaves begin turning. Besides, it will be a good excuse to come back, perhaps with an additional side trip to drive the Camaro along the famous “Tail of the Dragon”, an 11-mile stretch of US 129 bordering the westernmost edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Maybe I’ll mount the GoPro on the dash and video the run.

View from an overlook along the Parkway

A view from the Parkway On our way home from Tennessee we entered the Blue Ridge Parkway where it begins near Cherokee, and drove the length of it northward toward Asheville. This is the highest and most scenic section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, with hours of great views. When we reached the overlook parking area for Looking Glass Rock, the late afternoon sun was peaking between great fluffy clouds, casting spotlights of sun across the mountains. I spent a good while in that one spot with camera ready, watching and waiting for the sun to highlight Looking Glass Rock for some dramatic effects.
Looking Glass Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway Eventually I got what I wanted, which brings us back to the photo at the very top of this post. It’s one among many that I took, trying to capture this very interesting feature. The photo at left has different lighting than the first one, and is a favorite among the many I took.

On this trip there was wonderful scenery, and I thoroughly enjoyed the many hours of driving the twisty, winding roads in my new Camaro. I even enjoyed the miles of I-40 from Asheville to home on the return ride. I’m already plotting my next trip to take in the fall foliage before long, and hopefully that spin along the “Tail of the Dragon”. Maybe I’ll bring back a T-shirt.

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