Last week I was in Asheville, North Carolina. One of the great things about this city is that you're never very far away from the fabulous Blue Ridge Parkway. In this region of two large rivers, the French Broad and the Swannanoa, the parkway forms another ribbon that connects different parts of the city. Last Tuesday, the rains broke into scattered clouds and we had some time on our hands, so we took a ride. We began just off of Rt 191. The road quickly elevated upwards and we could feel our ears popping as we roamed from 2000 feet on up to higher points. Very soon, we were far above the valleys below and could look across to other mountains across from us.
We continued our drive, which included a series of short twisty tunnels. The leaves had all been shed from the trees, but this late fall season offered a wide variety of shadows and chiaroscuro images. We'd been at a remarkable church called Jubilee on Sunday and had purchased a CD which featured music from their jazzy house band and a variety of guests. The parkway brings you into close contact with nature, so the ethereal music from the CD offered a tasty aural backdrop to the scenes which spun out before us. Just imagine what it's like as the air grows thin and your car is climbing the switchbacks, going up and up and up.
We approached Mount Pisgah, and as we did, the clouds which we'd seen above from lower points were now at the same level we'd climbed to. It's a weird feeling to walk inside a cloud. My youngest son took his new Ipod Touch out and began to take videos of the pluming fog. So, that was the peak of our journey.
Later in the day, we picked up a friend from the airport and couldn't resist heading back up into the mountains, but once again we encountered fog right near Mt. Pisgah. We re-traced our steps and soon arrived back where we'd started. Before leaving the area, we made one more stop along the French Broad River. The area here was very quiet and you'd have to work hard not to relax while watching the river flow by.
That's a glimpse of the life outdoors near Asheville. The city offers a myriad of culture, cuisine and the arts, but the wonders of nature are never far away and stand ready to spark your imagination.