Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Parkway in Winter

Few people drive the Blue Ridge Parkway during the winter. Thinking the foliage makes the beauty, these folks do not appreciate the beauty of the mountains when the trees are bare.

Except for periods when the Parkway is closed because of snow and ice, we love driving to our favorite places in winter. There is something so refreshing about the crisp air and the relative isolation.

We keep hoping to find the north face of Looking Glass Rock covered with ice, giving it the glistening mirror effect for which it is named. So far we have not been successful.

However, if you look at this shot with the sun shining directly on the dry north face, I think you can imagine how lovely it must be covered with ice.

All along the roadside, trickles of water have become brilliant icicles. This one looks almost like a waterfall.

Cold Mountain does indeed look cold in the winter. But we love its beauty just the same.

It is a shame that more people do not appreciate the beauty of the outdoors in winter. They mistakenly believe that unless the mountains are full of foliage or covered with snow, there's no need to seek them out. I love the bare mountains and the isolation of driving through them in winter.


George said...

I agree -- the Parkway is beautiful any time of the year. When we lived in Black Mountain we would often take a drive on the Parkway. It was never boring.

Cicero Sings said...

Winter hues are rather amazing in their own right! Sometimes hard to capture on the camera though.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Ah Carolyn--We love the parkway during ALL seasons, like you do. In fact, we probably like it better in winter since there isn't much traffic.

Looking Glass Rock would be gorgeous with ICE... I'm sure you have seen Looking Glass Falls. Does it ice up in winter?? I love seeing waterfalls that are iced-over.

Thanks for the trip on the parkway!!!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I'm with you- I love the monochromatic look of bare trees around here. The lack of color is refreshing to me.

Cheryl said...

I love to look at the mountains when the trees are bare....there is so much out there to live in a very beautiful area.......

Dog_geek said...

Nice pictures! The parkway is always beautiful, but I always enjoy places more when I have them to myself.

Shelley said...

I for one appreciate the beauty of the outdoors in every season. Loved your photos!

Cedar ... said...

I've been on the northern end of the parkway,.. the Skyline Drive. I've been south on it twice and north once. I love it. I have a trip the full length of it on my "bucket list"... I'll watch for Cold Mountain and Lookingglass Mt.

Margaret Cloud said...

Beautiful pictures of the mountain, I to like to drive out in the winter to look around. I think winter is refreshing, you step outside and you breath in the crisp air, it is like the earth is trying to cleanse all the stuffy weather left over from summer and fall and let us have a good breath of fresh air.

The Birdlady said...

These are beautiful! I would have thought the parkway would be icy all winter - Skyline Drive through Shenandoah Nat Park seems to be closed every time we try in the winter.

Tina said...

I don't think I would want to live in another location that does not have seasons..I getting less and less fond of winter snow and ice but I do love the scenery that it brings. Your drive looked very enjoyable..thanks for taking us along.

Melissa Weisbard said...

I love the frozen water on the rocks. It is always beautiful to see the cascades of water frozen to the hillside. Beautiful.

NCmountainwoman said...

George - We now have to drive almost to Black Mountain to detour around the closed section near Craggy.

Cicero - Yes, they are.

Betsy - Looking Glass Falls does not ice. We rarely have that many sub-freezing days and nights in a row.

Lynne - I am amazed at how the lack of color affects me as well.

Cheryl - We "find" so many things we didn't know were around in winter when the trees are bare.

Dog Geek - So do we. I think that's why we love hiking in winter. Fewer folks around.

Shelley - Thanks. I also love seeing the changes in various places.

Cedar - Interesting. Next spring we plan to start at Cherokee and drive the Parkway to Shenandoah. We might pass you going the other way!

Margaret - Good description.

Helen - We've had some milder than normal weather. Normally, the Parkway would be closed near Cold Mountain. We access what sections might be closed before we head up.

Tina - We don't have the bitter cold and snow that we had in WI, but we do have winter. I prefer it milder, but I'm with you...I wouldn't want to live in a place with no changing seasons.

Melissa - Yes it is beautiful, especially when the sun is shining on the ice.

Wendy said...

Hi Carolyn!

I love the mountains in the winter - the views are better and you can see the outline of the ridges better without all the underbrush. The winter sky looks incredibly blue and clear. I love driving on the Parkway in all seasons, too.

(Nice to meet you!)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful views. Almost Yosemite-esque

Karen said...

I love hiking and going on the Parkway in the winter. The views are beautiful and it's definitely more peaceful. :)

EcoRover said...

I've been thinking about your musings on the barren forest of winter. Here in Montana, conifers predominate, but with the widespread pine beetle kill many of our forests are bare & brown year round--at least until the young pines grow up.

But I well remember the dormant skeletons of hardwoods standing starkly against the cold gray sky of an Allegheny winter.

Cf. the poem "Winter Trees" by Sylvia Plath, one line is:

...On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing...

Betty Jo said...

I adore the parkway in winter. I always discover something I couldn't see before due to all the trees. Your photos are beautiful. xoxo