LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Very Short Drive on the Parkway

Today brought another gorgeous spring day in the mountains. Forsaking the chores we needed to do, we decided to drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a short drive. It was a short drive indeed. We took our usual route up US276 through Pisgah National Forest.

This winter we suffered through heavy snows, two major ice storms and frequent high winds. We lost many trees in our community and on our property. But that did not prepare us for the horrific sights along the highway as we drove up the mountains to the Parkway.

We got on the Parkway at our usual spot near the Cold Mountain Overlook and started to head south. We traveled no further than the end of the overlook when we encountered this sign:



We turned north, knowing that the Parkway was closed beyond Mt. Pisgah because of an unstable slide.

As we drove we saw areas in which every single tree was topped. It was as if a giant had trampled through the mountains with a scythe, cutting off the tops of all the trees and knocking down many others.

























I know that when the trees leaf out again the devastation will be hidden from sight. We could drive only three miles between the closed sections. Crews are working hard to clear all the fallen limbs and trees. Hopefully the Parkway will reopen soon. People will drive through and admire the majesty of the mountains. Few of them will know the extent of winter's damage. The mountains will know, and those of us who live here will know. The mountains will recover and stand as they have for so long.

Cold Mountain looked much the same from a distance although I know the trees there suffered mightily.


Every spring we drive up the Parkway at least once a week to see the awakening and greening of these beautiful mountains. I'm not sure I want to go back again this year until the trees are all leafed out to cover up the broken and twisted trees.

19 comments:

The Thundering Herd said...

We were up in that exact area just this past weekend. Amazing amount of damage in that stretch (not nearly so much around Waterrock or on the Richland Balsam, both of which I have been on in the last two weeks as well).

People not familiar with our mountains fail to realize that we deal with hurricane force winds on a regular basis on these ridges. Devil's Courthouse is still recovering from the damaging winds of a few years ago. And Grandfather Mountain claims to have clocked 200 mph wind gusts (NWS says not quite so bad, but really - if it was only 150 or 175 - does it really matter).

The majesty of the mountains often hides the destructiveness of Mother Nature. But I still love living here and can not imagine living anywhere else.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Stunning photos! I know the havoc is difficult to experience. However, I feel, Mother Nature takes care of it all. -- barbara

Rudee said...

Even in devastation, the are looks beautiful. Nature is mighty, indeed. Thanks for the photos.

LauraHinNJ said...

Sad.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Those poor trees!!!!
I hope you get to have a nice and long drive soon...with lots of leafy trees to enjoy!!!!

JeanMac said...

Wonderful pictures.

Barb said...

What a sad sight. I hope these trees can survive the damage. The winds must have been horrific!

troutbirder said...

Although it doesn't have that "twisted" look of tornado damage its definitely pretty bad.

kks said...

it really is a beautiful time of year to watch the trees leaf out....amazing to me how quickly it happens!
did the dogs go on the trip too?
xoxo

Bird Girl said...

Wow - you guys sure did suffer some damage this winter. It is always sad to see trees down - but I guess it might open up new areas for feeding and foraging in the area. Who knows? It always makes me sad to even see an old dead snag down because I know how the birds love to use them!

Toni aka irishlas said...

I love the Parkway and Skyline and we always hit one or the other on our way home from our treks to Asheville. Sadly, it's only every other year.
I've hiked and backpacked most of both of them in my younger years and I was proposed to at Irish Creek. I do see what Mother Nature does to the mountains and some of it is quite devestating. But, I try to look at it like nature's way of pruning..
The mountains will always come back to all their glory and I for one am glad they do.
You live in a beautiful area and I wish I could talk the hubsters into retiring there!
Thanks for sharing.

George said...

We saw very much the same thing in the Smokies last month. It's nice to know that the mountains will recover, but it is still sad to see.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh --that is so sad, Carolyn... I know that winters can be harsh --all over the country (including the upper elevations of the Smokies) --but it's hard to think about and see. Like you said, once the leaves come out--some of the devastation will be masked... BUT--it was a HARD winter --and was hard on all of our beautiful trees...

Hope they open the parkway soon UP that way--so that you can drive up there and take more pictures for us.
Hugs,
Betsy

robin andrea said...

I had no idea the extent of the winter storm damage there. It does look pretty devastated. I hope the forest springs back with great vitality and regrowth.

Cheryl said...

I understand....I cannot bear to see the trees and woodland damaged.
It will be better when the trees are in leaf.

I love the photographs.......

Vicki Lane said...

Looks like our place -- we suffered more damage last winter than we've had in our 35 years here.

But as things leaf out, it's far less noticeable.

All part of Nature's little ways...

KB said...

A similar thing happened here in our huge April blizzard last year. We lost about 20 trees from our property. Many roads took days to be opened. The most lasting problem was the trails - there's no money for any government agencies to maintain Nat Forest trails so the locals did it. "We" (I only provided moral support) opened the last one in September...

Not to belittle things at all, but I bet that you'll be amazed by how fast saplings grow to make things look better... At least, I hope that's the case.

Ruth said...

Nature is resilient. We had such a mild winter north of the Great Lakes but last year there was a lot of tree damage due to storms and massive ice jams on the river. With our dry spring, fires are a concern.

Jayne said...

It is sad to see so much damage, but that is the way with nature. I know there will be renewal in the end.